Standing on the Shoulders of Our Mothers

This Mother’s Day, we have been reflecting on the ways in which we are connected to the previous generations of women who have struggled for more just practices in our church and in our world.  Where would be without those who came before us, without the women and mothers in our lives who taught us about what is to be female?  To be strong and courageous and unflinching in the face of new challenges, to be steadfast to the tenets of our faith and to raise questions and sound arguments when that faith is betrayed.  Today we say thank you to the women who gave us life, to the women who make life meaningful.  And we remember the roots of Mother’s Day, with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation.  

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

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