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Happy Mothers’ Day

Happy Mothers’ Day

Last year, the Rev. Greg Syler,rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Valley Lee, Maryland, wrote a thoughtful piece about the historical origins of Mothers’ Day, and we thought you might like to read it again. It does not conclude in a warm and fuzzy fashion, but that is its strength:

For the long ending of the story is that Anna Jarvis, who sought to lift up her mother’s memory in establishing this holiday, died in utter poverty, having spent everything she and her sister had to de-commercialize the holiday. As early as fifteen years after President Wilson established the Second Sunday in May as a holiday, she was disgusted by how quickly it grew into a buying spectacle and how suddenly it lost its focus on what her mother worked so hard to claim – a focus on mercy for the downtrodden, compassion for the prisoners, justice for the poor, and peace for all humankind.

Perhaps that’s the Christian story in a nutshell – that future generations might not know us for our great deeds and monumental tales but we do them nevertheless. We stand against violence and war-mongering. We love the downtrodden. We clothe the naked. We feed the hungry. We tend the poor.

Not because it’s popular, but because it’s right – and the right, the only way to peace.

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Pepper Marts

In the Mother's Day flurry of flowers and brunches and gifts and cards let's remember that long before there was Hallmark there was Julia Ward Howe's 1870 "Mother's Day Proclamation" that got the whole thing started. As with so many great beginnings, we've managed to kill the spark.

Happy Mother's Day!

______________

Mother's Day Proclamation

Arise then… women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts!

Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly: "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with 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, the 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 voice of a 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 often forsaken the plough 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 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 someplace deemed most convenient

And 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.

___________

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