10 May 2014

Motherhood & The Atonement

Sunday worship services of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bear similarities to other faiths. Our first meeting is a group meeting, for all ages, where the sacrament (Lord's Supper) is given to the congregation and gospel messages are shared. Among the difference between our service and others is that the gospel messages are delivered by lay members of the congregation. Even when the message is given by the bishop (comparable to a pastor) he is not a paid member of the clergy. This unique aspect of our services provides for interesting and often inspiring messages from sometimes unexpected sources.

Often a short talk is given by a member of the Church between the ages of 12 and 18, followed by two adult members. In my responsibility as a counselor to our bishop, I periodically have the responsibility of choosing members to speak, which is the case in the month of May.

I decided to assign myself as speaker for Mother's Day, which may be a selfish choice, as I wanted the chance to talk about something that is really important- the connection between motherhood and the atonement of Jesus Christ.

As I have been preparing for this topic, I have thought a lot about this relationship. I can't think of a routine occurrence that has this same resonance, though I realize that calling motherhood routine may get me in trouble. What I mean is that something that happens many millions of times every year provides us with a stark example of Christ's work on our behalf.

During pregnancy and childbirth, a woman is subject to pain and sickness, sometimes severe. The scriptures refer to Christ's travails, a term often used to describe pregnancy and labor. At the point of a child's birth, a woman is extremely vulnerable. Although mortality during childbirth is a fraction of what it once was, the occasional tragic death of a new mother reminds us of the risks involved in this act.

Having witnessed the birth of my three children, I can testify that I have felt the Spirit of God speak to my mind and heart that these events were pleasing to God. My appreciation and respect for my wife grew tremendously, and continues to do so as our children grow and develop.

The sacrifice of Christ for our sins, in which he did pay the ultimate price to allow us to be born again, is hard to compare to anything, but of all the selfless acts that the average person may participate in, the birth and rearing of children comes closest. To sacrifice your life for another, as happens in war or other extreme and relatively rare occasions, is noble and great, but most of us will not face that. All of us had mothers, know mothers, and some are and will become mothers. We have been blessed with a vivid example of God's love and it is motherhood.

My hope is to be able to explore this connection with my fellow worshippers tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to do so! If you are inclined to listen my talk and the others that will be shared, our meeting is at the LDS church building at 10600 SW 24th Ave in Gainesville at 9 AM. All are welcome.

In the meantime, you might enjoy this web page on Motherhood, prepared by my Church.

Happy Mother's Day!

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