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AND THEN: A Christian Perspective on Mothers’ Day & Christian Family Sunday

It used to be, when a couple decided to get married, that they could apply for a licence, get married, and receive the certificate from the minister at the end of the service. Then it changed so that you did that, waited three months and filled out a one page form, sent it in, and you received a wallet-sized piece of paper saying you were ‘really legally’ married.

Now you do all that, but have to have several pieces of identification to get the licence and then fill out a large six sided form to get the same wallet sized certificate. Has marriage become more important to society in the meantime? Has the increased bureaucracy protected marriages from going wrong or stopped people not suited to each other from getting married?

On this day when we celebrate motherhood and family, it’s timely to ask, ‘How do we protect institutions we treasure today?’ I doubt it is by creating more rules.

We know what is important. When 300 girls are ripped from their families and communities, there is a global gasp of horror at the breaking of those precious bonds of parent and child, of family.

We know what is important. How do we protect it?

There are moments in the stories of the Bible when the Presence of God imprints an experience and raises it to a level of importance for all time.

An old woman named Sarah conceives a child and knows God’s presence within. She bears a son and names him Isaac, God’s laughter.

A cad named Jacob wrestles all night with an angel and sees the face of God.

A man named Moses stands before a burning bush which is not consumed.

In all these stories of God’s presence transforming moments,

there are two words that follow: AND THEN ...

AND THEN, Abraham and Sarah become ancestors to a nation who worship one God.

AND THEN, Jacob reconciles with his brother and is named Israel -- worthy to lead his people.

AND THEN, Moses leads his people from slavery to freedom and the presence of God is felt in the Commandments when they need law, in food when they are hungry.

In each of these extraordinary experiences of God’s presence, ordinary people begin to bear witness to an extraordinary event. This is the point at which what you know is important begins to actually BE important. God enters in, and prepares us for our ‘AND THEN’ moment.