Mother's Day musings
May 3, 2021
Dear parents and families,
Mothering goes beyond conceiving and bearing a child. We are fortunate enough to have dozens of strong women in the Bible and in the world around us who model what being a mother means. Conventional or unconventional, mothers of all kinds shape each of us into the people we are today. To the Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Godmothers, women yearning to be mothers, stand-in mothers, and all the great women who have loved us, Happy Mother’s Day.
Thousands of years ago, the angel Gabriel visited a woman named Mary of Nazareth. A virgin named Mary who was betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph is told she will conceive and bear the Son of God. After telling the story millions of times over, Mary has somehow developed the reputation of being a rather dainty young woman of no more than 12 years old. The Mary who bore the Messiah does not match up with this reputation, though. Mary made the choice on her own to have a baby who would change the world. Mothers know what it is like to make tough decisions. Women know what it is like to make tough decisions.
Mary is not the only strong woman we see in the Bible. Women like Elizabeth, Lydia, Sarah, Rahab, Deborah, and Miriam are just a few examples of inspirational figures for children and adults alike. Even Wisdom in The Book of Wisdom is described as a woman. Women are strong, powerful creatures. God made humans in God’s image: that includes women of every shape, size, nationality, race, sexuality, religion. That includes trans women. That includes women of color.
After Jesus was born, Herod put a bounty on his head. Mary made yet another choice: she took her family and ran. Just like Mary fled the country to protect her family, mothers have dropped everything in the pandemic to protect their families, too.
If you are in need of some spiritual nourishment, here are some excellent resources handpicked by Rev. Barb and I:
- Women’s Uncommon Prayers by Geitz et al.
- Not Counting Women and Children by Megan McKenna
- God of Our Mothers by M.T. Ritley
If you are searching for ways to bring your children into the conversation about women in the Bible, try asking some of these questions:
- What are some of the names of the women you know in the Bible? What do you know about these women?
- Do you think it was easy or difficult to be a woman when the Bible was written? Why?
- Did you know that many saints were women? Here is a whole list! Which one would you like to learn more about?
I am astounded everyday by the immeasurable strength that mothers and women demonstrate, usually without batting an eye. You are beloved of God in every way. If I can support faith in your families, do not hesitate to reach out.
Anne Alexis Harra
Children & Youth Minister
Anne Alexis Harra (she/her) was born and raised in Wilmington, DE, where she is currently a member at St. David’s Episcopal Church. Anne Alexis graduated from Washington College in May 2019 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Philosophy. She is currently working on her M.S. in Secondary Education from Saint Joseph's University.
Anne Alexis serves on the Diocesan Council in the Episcopal Church in Delaware, as well as the Racial Justice & Reconciliation Commission at the pleasure of the Rt. Rev. Kevin Brown. She moved to West Philadelphia in January 2021 after spending time in the city with her partner (Cole Appelman [he/him], pictured at left) and while working on her Masters in Secondary Education at Saint Joseph’s University. A big piece of her heart may be in DE, but she could not be more thrilled to join the St. Martin’s community!
Beginning with the waters of baptism, Anne Alexis has devoted her life to serving God in the Episcopal Church. Raised on Godly Play in Sunday school and moving into a tight-knit youth group, she is aware of the positive impact that the Church’s presence can have in the life of a young person. She is passionate about encouraging children and youth to explore their faith on a personal level while also committing to a community-centered effort to enact change for the greater good.
Anne Alexis’s father owns and is president of a local funeral home in Wilmington. Some of her earliest childhood memories include observing him engage with bereaved families in a way that can only be described as ministerial. Her mother is a hospice nurse who guides her patients and families through a dignified palliative care stage. Anne Alexis’s parents have left a huge impression on her heart. A ministerial goal she has at St. Martin’s is exploring the often taboo topics of dying and death in the hopeful context of the gospels.
In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, reading, spending time with her family (notably her godson, Will), and watching new shows with her beloved cat by her side. She and Cole enjoy trying eclectic restaurants in their neighborhood -- observing COVID restrictions, of course!