Honoring the Bouquet of Our Mothers

[Note: We have a tradition of asking each person to bring to church on Mother’s Day a single flower—colored if she is still living, white if she has died. The flowers are arranged on the spot into a bouquet and brought into the service just before the Call to Worship. With a bow to Max Coots for the inspiration, here are the words that I wrote for the Call. – Judy Welles]

Honoring the Bouquet of Our Mothers

Today we pay homage to our mothers, the women who birthed us and
watched us grow, wiped our noses and stuck bandaids on our knees and
kept their fingers crossed that we would turn out all right.

The flowers arranged here for your visual delight are a testimony to
your mother and mine, our collective mothers, all of them. See how
unique they are, how different from one another. What an impressive
array! Each flower is here to remind one of us about a particular
woman and the indelible impression she made on our lives.

Some mothers are like forsythia spilling over the neighbor's fence—
almost unbearably cheerful, energetic and determinedly curious,
insinuating themselves into our lives.

Some mothers are like daisies by the side of the road—humble,
perhaps a little frayed around the edges, fretting as they pick at
their clothing "Does he love me? Does he love me not?"

Some mothers are like irises in formal gardens—austere and
complicated, holding themselves back as we try in vain to discover
what's really inside.

Some mothers are like roses displayed on a trellis—lovely,
sweet-smelling, sure of their favored place in our hearts.

Some mothers are like thistles in a field—their sharpness wounding
us as we try to get close.

Some mothers are like violets coming up in the lawn—unassuming but
tenderly loyal, always there regardless of how we take them for

Some mothers are like ivy on a brick wall—holding us too tightly,
unwilling or unable to let go.

Some mothers are like beds of peonies—bosomy, overdressed,
embarrassing us with their lavishness and the lipstick marks they
leave on our cheeks.

Some mothers are like lilac bushes beside the kitchen door—
welcoming, familiar, reminding us that we can always come home again.

Living or dead, perfect or flawed, gorgeous or plain, they are our
mothers and they did the best they could. Our feelings about our
mothers are probably as complex as this arrangement that we see
before us. Let us love them for what we can love in them, and honor
them the best we can, flawed as we are too. From them we were given
the gift of life. Let us say thank you, each in our own way, as we
worship together this day. Come, let us worship together.