13 May 2012

For Women Everywhere: Mother's Day is for Protest, Prayer & Peace

For all who suffer for one reason or another on Mother's Day, I fully acknowledge you.  I am one of you, too.  For years this day has reminded me of the scars in my heart and the empty womb that once held embryos but was unable, for whatever reason, to keep them alive.  There are other pains, too, that I will not share in such a public place, but you can be sure that they are there.

Take heart, dear ones.  Much love to all of you!  I pray that we all will find comfort and renewed passion by examining our roots. 

Photo by Matt Wynne
Mother's Day is not about chocolates and flowers (although both, if fairly traded and pesticide free, are lovely).  It's not about jewelry and store-bought cards.  This day is not about being a consumer zombie.

This morning, my pastor reminded us all that Mother's Day in America originated with the prayerful protest of Julia Ward Howe.  In her earlier years she had penned the Battle Hymn of the Republic, but as she experienced the dreadful agony of war, her motherly despair caused her to cry out against the violence.  (Experience of violence, grief and suffering has a tendency to change our theology.)  As relevant today as it was when it was first prepared, let us read, hear, speak and pray these words of protest, prayer and womanhood.  Let us remember what it means to be alive!

Against war. 

Against mindless consumerism feeding ceaseless hunger for more.  

Against governmental decisions that put our loved ones in danger on account of lust for money and power. 

Photo by Trista Wynne
Towards a new heart that beats with passion and purity. 

Towards a nation of compassion and peace. 

Towards a celebration of femininity and the precious gifts we have received from our Great Mothering God. 

I include in today's post these fiery words calling for a new earth and a new humanity.  Dear ones, let us re-imagine what hunger and thirst should be for!  May peace, justice, mercy and steadfast love fill the earth through the hands, creation, passion, wisdom and work of women everywhere!

Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation of 1870

 Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:

"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.

"We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have of ten forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.

Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Trista, for your thoughtful and inspiring blog post. You continue to write with deep passion and insight into the deep places in our souls! Thanks, Tom