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.