Why I resent parents' days

Wherever we see abiding grief that reignites unresolved pain, we should recognize an opportunity to do the work God has called us to.

I really dislike Mother's Day and Father's Days. I hope that puts me in a minority. Parents and parenthood are wonderful and worth celebrating. And these holidays are a lot more enjoyable if you're a fan. So please don't assume I want company on my little island of disdain. Anyone who loves those days should feel free to keep loving them.

I wouldn't even mention it at all, except that I'm not alone on this island, and none of us got here happily. We're here because each Mother's Day or Father's Day pricks some abiding grief, reignites some unresolved pain--abuse or death or trauma or disappointment or neglect--and we don't seem to be able to move on. When those holidays come, we tend to either put on a good face and power through, or we go away until it's over.

A lot of churches, including ours, have a long-standing tradition of observing Mother's and Father's Days. But for the last two years, I've chosen not to. I guess you could say I took the hide and wait it out approach and asked you all to come along with me.

But I think continuing to do that would be wrong. Wherever we see "abiding grief that reignites unresolved pain," we should recognize an opportunity to do the work God has called us to.

We preach a message of redemption, claiming that Jesus reconciles us to God and that God's Spirit works to remake and reform us--heart, soul, mind, body. The Gospel does not simply say to those in pain, "I know this hurts. Sorry." The Gospel says, "Jesus is with you, in your pain, right now. He will stay with you until it's over. And he will give this pain meaning." Our duty, as agents of that Gospel, is to ask, "May I help you find him?"

There are a lot of ways to ask that question, and there are a lot of ways to help those in pain discover Jesus's presence. But year after year, my wounded companions and I remain encamped on our island, unconvinced of Jesus' message or unwilling to believe it.

There's no future on that island. I need to get off it. And Mosaic, we need to do better helping others do the same.

So we're going to try. We're going to expose brokenness that tends to be hidden, so that we can then invite Christ to come and heal. I'm pretty sure it's going to be clumsy. But I'm also pretty sure it's going to be good.

So please come to church this weekend. Please don't skip it because you think the service will be lame. Or because you think it will hurt. Come because people of God are gathering. And because God will be present in the special way God is present in and among us when we gather. And because you will hear a message of hope. And because you might bring with you the glance or the smile or the touch or the few words that open that door to healing in that one heart. In fact, let's not say "might." Come expecting it.

Image Credit

Carnation: Mike Oliveri; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0