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How wonderful on Mothers Day that we had the opportunity to celebrate Miyas
baptism. One of the reasons I love being a Presbyterian is we celebrate Infant Baptism. When
we baptized children like Miya we are celebrating what God has done for us. Baptism is a
Sacrament, which means it is a sign and seal of grace. Its this seal of grace that is so important.
God has sealed grace in Miya. She will carry that with her for the rest of her existence. Today
as we baptized an infant we celebrated God. Though we love Miah and how adorable she is and
we celebrate with David and Tiah this new gift of a daughter we are ultimately celebrating God.
One of the images of God is that of a mother hen gathering her brood under her wings.
Today we celebrated that God has gathered Miya. Yay, God!
Today Im continuing a sermon series called, Caring with the heart of Jesus. Were
doing things a bit different in this series. Im starting off by doing a teaching on a quality of
Jesus heart. This will be a teaching with content and not a lot of illustrations. Then well sing a
song. Then Ill help us apply that quality of Jesus heart into a particular situation.
Last week I taught on wisdom. We looked at how to maintain a relationship when were
having a conflict with a family member.
Today were looking at gentleness. Were applying it by looking at being gentle with our
Next week were looking at compassion. After the teaching well look at how to be
compassionate with people suffering from cancer. After worship well have a panel discussion
made up of folks whove had cancer. They are going to share with us what is helpful to them as
people have cared for them and what hasnt been helpful.

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I want to encourage you to get out this brochure that is in the bulletin. This week I wrote
a Bible Study for you on gentleness. In the middle you have a place to take notes. God might
say something to you that youll want to write down.
One of my favorite Scriptures is the second one that Nancy read today. I often share this
Scripture before we celebrate Communion. If you like memorizing Scripture its worth
Come unto me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon me and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest
for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
There is is. I am gentle and humble in heart.
Gentleness is part of the heart of Jesus.
Other words that are similar to gentle are meek and humble. Jesus used these words in
many places. One place was the Sermon on the Mount
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
One of the greatest examples of the gentleness of Jesus was when he was dying on the
cross. He had been whipped, stripped naked, and then had his wrists and feet nailed to a tree.
He had been abandoned by most of his followers. Jesus could have reigned down destruction on
the people who were killing him. Instead he responded with gentleness. Father, forgive them
for they know not what they do.
The Greek word translated as gentle is praus. Praus was part of the Fruit of the Spirit
shared by the apostle Paul in Galatians.

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Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, praus or gentleness, and selfcontrol.
The Apostle Paul did some teaching on gentleness. Youll read about that in the devotion
this week. In the letter we know of as 2 Corinthians he was defending his own ministry. Its the
way he went about his defense that I want to lift up. He wrote this:
I myself, Paul, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of ChristI who am humble when
face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away.
2 Corinthians 10:1
When we are trying to persuade people of something. Are we gentle or do we come on
aggressive. Paul used gentleness to appeal to the people who were reading this letter.
Our wider culture often doesnt value gentleness. Our culture is looking for leaders who
are strong and opinionated and aggressive. This is a definition of power that is put forth.
Were not taught that gentleness and power go hand in hand. Were taught that the people who
are loudest and the most boisterous are the ones who get their way.
A stereotype of gentleness is that people who are gentle are weak and pushovers.
I believe that Jesus teaches us that a combination of gentleness and conviction can change
the world.
Being gentle does not mean that we give in to what another person wants. A gentle
person can be powerfully firm and strong. Just like Jesus.
We remember people who combine gentleness and conviction. Again Jesus is an
example. I think one of the reasons Jesus is so powerful to us is he didnt retaliate while he was
dying on the cross. If Jesus had responded with violence he would have been just another leader
who gave in to violence. Jesus didnt give in. We remember him. We remember him because
of his gentleness.

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When we care for others with gentleness our actions will be long lasting.
For some of us gentleness doesnt come naturally. Were not wired that way. When we
feel strong emotions we have a hard time containing our emotions. When were upset we get
aggressivewe might fly off the handle. Some of us Minnesotans get passive aggressive. If
someone makes a comment that we dont like we might fight back or by saying, Whatever.
Our intent is clear. Thats not gentle.
There were times that Jesus did got angry. However if we read the stories of Jesus being
angry we learn that when Jesus became angry when powerful people acted in an unjust way.
Mostly he became angry when religious leaders put unnecessary burdens on people. But with
the people of his daythe poor, the outcasts, those who needed healing, those who the systems
of his day didnt celebrateJesus was gentle.
When we care for others with gentleness, we experience something beautiful. Jesus
shared this beauty in todays passage. Remember. Say it with me.
Come unto me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon me and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart.
What is the result? You will find rest for your souls.
When we live with gentleness and care for others with gentleness we find rest for our
When were quarrelsome and agitated and aggressive we dont experience a sense of
peacethe peace that passes all understanding.
When were gentle we reduce the tension in a situation. Gentleness is a terrific response
to anxietyand even our own anxiety. If we feel anxious or worried or concerned focus on
gentleness. When our hearts are full of gentleness our hearts will find rest. Our hearts will find
peace. Our hearts will be connected to the heart of Jesus.

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Its so obvious to say that were called to be gentle with our moms that we might not
even need to say it. Its like saying gravity exists, or F=MC squared, or God love us.
But its worth remembering how hard it is to be a mother and how mothers deserve the
gentleness of their children.
Its hard to be a mom. Just look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. We know that Jesus was
the son of God, and we know that he was the son of Mary. And though he was fully God and
fully human it wasnt easy to be his mother.
Mary had to risk her life even to carry Jesus in her womb. Some traditions taught that an
unmarried woman who was pregnant was to be carried to the edge of the village and be stoned to
Look at the story that Nancy read today. Mary and her husband Joseph took Jesus to the
Temple in Jerusalem. They lived in Nazareth at the time. People traveled in groupsit was like
most of the people left Nazareth to travel to Jerusalem. When the group left the Temple to go
back to Nazareth, Mary didnt realize that Jesus was still at the Temple. She thought that Jesus
was in this group.
After a while she realized he was missing. This was serious. Today we would put out an
Amber alert. When Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple, Mary gave Jesus a stern
Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you
in great anxiety. Luke 2:48
It wasnt easy to be the mother of Jesus.
When Jesus was an adult Mary traveled with him. She saw how the crowds came to him
wanting to be healed and to receive a word from God. Mary was probably present in the Upper

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Room when Jesus washed his followers feet and gave them a new command to love. Then
Mary watched as Jesus was brutalized and killed on the cross. In Johns gospel Jesus looked at
Mary while he was on the cross and asked the beloved disciplewho most think was Johnto
take care of Mary. From then on Mary lived with him.
It wasnt easy to be the mother of Jesus.
Its never been easy to be a mom.
On Mothers Day we step back and remember our momswho have one of the hardest
and most important tasks that there is.
Mothers Day is special day, but its not an easy day. For parents who want to have a
child and cantMothers Day is a hard day. For those who have a troubling relationship with
their mom, this day lifts up those challenges.
Its worth remembering how Mothers Day was started.
Anna Jarvis was the woman who started Mothers Day.


She was born in 1864 in West Virginia. She was the ninth of eleven childrenthough only three
of her siblings grew up to be adults. Anna Jarvis loved her mother.

Her mother was also named Anna. She was a community leader. Anna the

mother started a group called the Mothers Day Work Club. They met in churches. These clubs
worked to combat the poor health and sanitation conditions that contributed to a high infant
mortality rate.
During the Civil War the mother Anna Jarvis urged the members of the Mothers Day
Work Club to take a neutral stance regarding the war. She knew that we throw aside politics
when we care for others. Thats caring with the heart of Jesus. She asked the women to nurse
both the Union and Confederate soldiers.

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The Jarvis family was involved in the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church. When
Anna Jarvisthe daughterwas 12 years old she heard her mom say a prayer in church. The
prayer was this:
I hope that someone, sometime will found a memorial to mothers day
commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She
is entitled to it.
Anna Jarvis, the daughter, never forgot this prayer. At her moms graveside service she
promised her mom she would create that mothers day. She and her brother Claude started a
Mothers Day campaign.
It took courage to for a woman in the early 20th century to initiate a campaign for
Mothers Day.
Women didnt even have the right to vote; most women didnt work; if they did work
they could only work at certain types of jobs that were deemed feminine.
On the second anniversary of her moms death on 1907 Anna led a small tribute to her
mom at Andrews Methodist church in Philadelphia. In 1908 Mothers Day was celebrated in the
city of Philadelphia. The movement grew and in 1909 45 states observed some sort of Mothers
Day celebration.
Five years later in 1914 Woodrow Wilson made Mothers Day a national holiday. In
seven years Anna Jarvis was able to establish the national celebration of Mothers Day.
Whats ironic Anna Jarvis was never a mother. She was single her entire life.
Its worth remembering that it was the prayer of a mother that inspired the start of
Mothers Day.
Today we are going to celebrate the women in our life who inspired our faith. Youve
written out the names of women that have gone on our family tree of faith.

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Im sure that many of our mothers were the adults who encouraged us to get connected to
God and to the church. Parents are our most precious role models of faith.
I think of my own mother, Jackie Moore. She and my Dad always encouraged my sister
and I to participate in a faith community. My sister and I knew that on Sunday mornings we
were going to church, for us the church was Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington,
Minnesota. My sister and I were never asked whether we wanted to go. We wentwhether we
wanted to or not. In the first 18 years of my life I dont ever remembering skipping church.
It certainly wasnt like I went to church as a young child and participated in an inspiring
childrens ministry. When I was young I experienced church as old, grey and certainly boring. I
was expected to sit in a cold classroom, in metal chairs and listen to someone stand up and
lecture us on the Bible. Then I had to go to worship and sit still and be quiet and listen to a
sermon that was over my head. The only real value that others saw in me at church was when I
was quiet. When I was at church I was supposed to sit down, be still, and be quiet. Which is an
odd faith message to teach to a seven year old. I think that our first ten years are some of the
most spiritually profound times in our life. My church practically ruined my faith.
But my momand my dadencouraged my sister and I to go to church. Today Im a
pastor; my sister is a pastor. Shes my role model in faith.
Our mothers deserve our gentleness.
Were acknowledging today the women who have made an impact on our faith. (Kristel
Peters and Karen Bakia) have made this family tree of faith. Many of you wrote the names of
women who made a difference in your faith life. Their names are here.
Its not easy to be a mom. Its not easy to celebrate Mothers Day. Our moms deserve
all of the gentleness that we can give them.