A Mother’s Day Litany

A Mother’s Day Litany

We remember the mothers of our faith, the bearers of God’s story.

We remember Eve, Naomi, the wife of Job, and Mary the mother of Jesus:
women who buried their children, lives lost unbearably early.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember Dinah, and Benjamin, and Joseph,
who saw their beloved mother buried
and their father’s grief become a family’s destruction.
We stand with all those who face this day without their mother.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember Rachel, Sarah, and Elizabeth, and every unnamed woman
who found herself unable to bear children —
every woman who has faced miscarriage, infertility, and loneliness:
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.
We remember every woman who held her newborn child
and found it to be the greatest gift and the hardest task of all.
We celebrate with you.
May the God who births new life in us awaken joy in you.

We remember Dinah.
We remember all women who are victims of sexual assault.
We stand with every woman whose body, whose sexuality, whose marriage, whose children
should be a source of joy and has instead been destroyed by someone else’s sin.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember Hagar, and Tamar;
women whose only hope for protection and care
lay in having a child with a man who was not married to them.
We stand with all women who faced pregnancy and raising their children alone.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember Rebekah, who felt her twins Esau and Jacob
already at war within her, and chose a favorite son.
We remember all mothers, and all children,
who may have done what they thought was right
but instead sowed seeds of distrust, jealousy, and hatred.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember Moses’ mother and Pharaoh’s daughter,
one who gave up her child to save her child,
one who took in a child despite the risks.
We remember Hannah, who gave her son into the care of Eli the priest.
We stand with all women who have given up their children in the hope of better life for them.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.
We remember every woman who has made family through adoption.
We celebrate with you.
May the God who births new life in us awaken joy in you.

We remember the foreign women, the wives of God’s people,
who came home with their husbands to rebuild the temple
only to be cast aside by men claiming to be righteous and pure.
We stand with all women who have been made homeless or landless,
often for reasons beyond their control.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember all the mothers who have lost their children not to death but to brokenness:
the mothers of those who turned against them, as Jesus predicted;
the mothers of those whose demonic possession cast them into graveyards and chains;
the mothers of drunkards and fools, laughed at by anonymous proverb writers.
We remember all the mothers of children slaughtered by the greed of others
in war, famine, genocide, and child slavery.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember the woman at the well, and all the unnamed women
who were silenced and subjected by divorce.
We stand with all those whose broken family has broken their own heart.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.
We remember all those who have found freedom and new life
in the difficult process of divorce.
We celebrate with you.
May the God who births new life in us awaken joy in you.

We remember the Syrophoenician woman, alone, unsupported,
who refused to be turned away from help for her dying child.
We stand with every woman who advocates for others.
We remember every woman laughed at and called a bitch.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember Mary Magdalene, the first preacher of the resurrection,
soiled by centuries of slander and misalignment,
turned from wide-eyed witness to reformed harlot.
In her testimony, what the men called a foolish tale, she gave birth to the church.
We stand with all women whose gender, sexuality, history, or bravery
has been used against them and the gospel they proclaim.
We mourn with you.
May the God who mothers each of us be a source of life for you.

We remember Mary the virgin, a teenage girl, cradling her stomach with wonder,
facing the sheer shock of a miracle and the sureness of societal judgment
with a simple and determined “Yes.”
We stand with every woman who has found an inner courage to face impossibilities.
We celebrate with you.
May the God who births new life in us awaken joy in you.
Amen.

 

An adaptation of the original commentary “The Forgotten Mothers of the Bible,” published at Sojourners in May 2017. May be used with attribution.

 

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