A Prayer for Mother’s Day
I was overjoyed when Jeff Krehbiel, who is standing as my vice moderator, offered to share a prayer for Mother’s Day. Jeff writes movingly about an issue that is often overlooked in our churches and in society as a whole. I continue to feel blessed that Jeff is travelling this journey with me and that he is able to share his pastoral wisdom with us here.
A Prayer for Mother’s Day,
by Jeff Krehbiel, Pastor, Church of the Pilgrims, (PCUSA), Washington, DC
Reproductive loss is widely experienced but often hidden from view, and frequently ignored or even exacerbated in our public Mother’s Day celebrations, including in worship, where motherhood is lifted up but reproductive loss goes unmentioned. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 6.1 million Americans experience infertility, 25 percent of women of childbearing age will experience miscarriage, and one in eighty pregnancies will end in stillbirth. An excellent pastoral and theological resource is theologian Serene Jone’s 2009 book, Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World (Westminster John Knox Press), which engages studies in contemporary Trauma Theory from a Reformed feminist perspective. Especially helpful is chapter 8, “Hope Deferred: Theological Reflections on Reproductive Loss.” The prayer below is an attempt to name the variety of pastoral issues related to motherhood.
We thank you God for our mothers, and for those who were like mothers to us—those who nurtured and supported us, and enabled us to grow and mature in faithfulness.
We thank you for those who have been like mothers to children not their own, offering unconditional love and guidance to the children in their midst.
We thank you for the gift of creativity that you planted within us, men and women alike, that enable us by your spirit to give birth to a new creation.
We pray for those who are mothers, for the joy and challenge of their vocation; may you grant them courage and grace to parent to the best of their ability, knowing that even our best efforts fall short, but are redeemed by your grace and forgiveness.
We also join our hearts with those for whom today is a day of grief and mourning:
those who have lost their mothers, or who are estranged from their mothers;
those who are struggling with reproductive loss, for whom motherhood is a hope yet denied.
O God of compassion, who took on our earthly frame and shared our sufferings in Jesus of Nazareth, send your healing spirit upon us all, and empower us to deal tenderly with one another.
In your Holy Name, Amen.