Lectionary vs. Mother’s Day

The lectionary vs. Mother’s Day.  It has been a battle for preachers since Hallmark started cranking out cards not long after the U.S. Congress gave the day official recognition on the second Sunday of every May (read more about it here).  Not just a few pastors have been scarred forever from within their congregations for their lectionary purity.  “I’m not going to give in to Hallmark,” you hear them say, just before the angry letters, emails, tweets, and texts start flying their direction. The only thing worse than not recognizing mothers is recognizing those among them who are the youngest and the oldest.  Just try that one out and see what happens.

I’ll admit, I don’t always preach a sermon just for moms on Mother’s Day.  I’ve gone the lectionary route more than once on this day, but I’ve always found a way to make some application for the carnation-adorned part of the congregation.  This Sunday, I’m going off lectionary and preaching a topical text about several notable (and exemplary) mothers in the Bible.  I love the rhythm and breadth of preaching the lectionary, but I’m certainly no purist.  For me, the incentive for doing so is not from negative emails or the marketing of Hallmark, but about the significance of motherhood and the myriad examples (real moms who don’t always get it right) of mothers provided in the Bible.  Yes, these moms are ancient and had far different circumstances in life.  Yet, the effect of their lives transcends all time and continues to provide relevancy and nourishment for today’s mothers and grandmothers.

What are you preaching this Sunday?


  1. Gail Geisel · · Reply

    This year I find to be the best ever lectionary for Mother’s Day as it fits in well with the Festival of the Christian Family. Whereas other years my Mother’s Day sermon has either discussed the importance of women in the Bible or feminine images for God, this year the lectionary is about all of us adopted as Children of God, making a nice tie in to the changing image of family. The only thing is I am not sure if I will be brave enough, in my conservative congregation, to mention gay couples adopting children, which is another changing image of family.

    1. Thanks for your comments. Great idea to use the children of God aspect of 1 John. Hope all went well today.

  2. I usually preach the lectionary, but was looking for a way to weave in “Mother’s Day”. This year’s gospel text, John10:1-10, “my sheep hear my voice,” seemed to present an obvious analogy to children who hear the voice of their mother….and then I found your blog through a twitter search, and your post: “Jesus Sounds like a Mother”. That settled it. Thank-you!

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