Walker, MN

6th Sunday of Easter “An Orphan No More” A Mother’s Day Sermon
May 9, 2021 John 14:15–21
Dear brothers & sisters in Christ,

A blessed Mother’s Day to all mothers, and to all women who are in the position to be ‘motherly’. No matter how confused or rebellious our current culture is, Biblical Christians know & profess that it is a very particular blessing & gift from God if you were created female. Give God thanks for that gift, and seek His help in that blessing.
In relation to Mother’s Day, one of our LCMS pastors shares a personal story as an illustration for us. He says: Several years ago our daughter Sarah & her husband, Michael, returned from Moscow with twin children adopted from an orphanage. These children were then 10 months old, and had been in the orphanage from the day of their birth.
Sarah & Michael spent 3 weeks in Russia in the process of adoption. During that time, they had a large amount of legal work to deal with. Yet each day they were able to visit these children. In order to get to the infant section of the orphanage, they had to pass thru a play yard where the older children were. Whenever they entered the gate, the children would line up, give them their best smile, and say “hi.” It was their biggest hope that maybe, just maybe, they, too, would be adopted into a family. It left Sarah & Michael with heavy hearts.
They couldn’t adopt them all; many would remain orphans in a harsh & socialist country. No one would call them their own, or make a fuss over them, or make sacrifices for them,
or share with them their good values, or help them shape a hopeful future.
These children were orphaned thru no fault of their own. It could be that their parents loved them very much, but just could not care for them, & placed them in the orphanage with deep regret. It could be that their parents didn’t love them and put them in the nearest facility as a way of getting out of the responsibility. The cause didn’t matter, the end result was the same: They are orphaned.

This story is valuable because it illustrates some very important concepts. Spiritually, we ALL begin as orphans. We didn’t ask for this. From the moment we are conceived, we are sinners. This is our in-born condition; we are cast-off, lost, & without care; cut off from our Creator. It doesn’t seem fair, but ‘it is what it is’, and we have to face it.
As true orphans, we are helpless to improve our situation, because by our fallen nature we think & act sinfully, and are disobedient. Therefore, we also deserve this lost condition. We do not obey God, nor can we. And yet, before God orphaned our first parents, Adam & Eve, He made a promise to rescue mankind, to work on our redemption, & to bring us back to Him.
This reminds me of another story of a man who was adopting a troubled teenage girl; & his friends were skeptical. She was disobedient, destructive & dishonest. One day she came home and ransacked the house, looking for money. His friends urged him not to finalize the adoption. ‘Let her go,’ they said, ‘besides, she’s not really your daughter.’ The man said, ‘yes, I know. But I promised she would be.’ It’s much easier to love someone who’s lovable.
God has told us the truth: our inborn sin, and our active rebellion against Him, makes us completely unlovable.

Adam & Eve were orphaned for disobeying God -just once- by eating from a certain tree. You & I have done much worse than that; by number of times or by different kinds of sins. As outcasts in life, we’re trying to fend for ourselves; the world is our broken-down orphanage. But without God, it’s like trying to survive in the wild alone. We have no protective parent or advocate; we’re just surrounded by other sinners & threats.
From an eternal point of view, /there’s not one who calls us their own, /no one to fuss over us, /no one to sacrifice for us, /no one to share with us their values, /no one to help shape us for a hopeful future. That’s how our Creator describes our life under sin. This is a harsh reality; but without knowing it, we could never realized how much we need a Savior, and we would never properly appreciate The One who came to rescue us.
So, there is no better news for us proclaimed by God Himself than this: We Are Orphans No More. Before we could even line up and say ‘hi,’ our Lord made plans to claim us for himself. Even before we were aware, God was working to put His own name on us thru the waters of His Baptism. God has made His Bride -The Church- to be like a faithful, loving mother; and with a baptismal new-birth, God has declared himself to be our Father. He would sacrifice for us so that we could be His very own. He has chosen you as part of His family. By His word & attention, He is giving you training & discipline. He is giving you his own values, and giving you a hopeful future. We Are Orphans No More.
If you’ve talked to adoptive parents, you’ll likely hear about how much it costs, because it’s a lot. So, *what does God’s kind of adoption cost? It was not ‘a lot’, it was ‘total.’ We might say that adoption can cost ‘an arm & a leg.’ For our heaven-sent Savior
to adopt us, He had to literally give both arms & both legs, … and everything else. And even more than physically, in order for us to be brought into His holy family, He had to empty himself.
He had to give up His position as The Son of Heaven; He was willing to step-aside & be condemned to qualify us to be in His family place, while He took our place as forsaken & cut off from His Father. He traded places with us, and He was orphaned & forsaken all the way to the cursed cross. That’s what makes it an amazing thing to be adopted by God; it is completely by His grace thru Jesus Christ. Sacrifice, suffering & death was the legal ‘adoption process’. And after Jesus faced death & then crushed it, so now Jesus calls us His sisters & brothers. All that belongs to Him has now become ours.

This is the message that is called ‘the gospel’ of our salvation. This Gospel is pictured in certain earthly things for us: things such as marriage, birth & children, parents & family, and -today- it’s reflected in the word ‘mother.’ There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ mother;
but with ‘faithful’ mothers, the Lord gives us a real-live picture of our eternal adoption, and the transition from being lost & abandoned orphans to being loved & safe children. I was blessed with a faithful mother; maybe you were, too. Faithful mothers do not replace God, they serve Him and they show Him, & they illustrate this eternal gospel.

So, from the start, a faithful mother assures their child that there is one God who has created us, one God who knows us & bears with us & loves us, even when we’re not very lovable. She is able to do this because that’s how God made females; capable of conceiving, carrying, & bearing with her children. A faithful mother strives to honor the Lord; with a gentle righteousness, and a willing service & sacrifice for her children == those same things we see when the Lord deals with His people in the Scripture.
Some women sinfully rebel and deny themselves this ability to reflect the Lord. But a mother’s love is designed to be another rich picture of God’s great love for us in Christ Jesus. How blessed is the woman who believes that, and wants to reflect that to her children.
Here, I’m reminded of two short stories involving mothers & their children. The first is of 7-yr-old Heidi and her mom, who were coming home from church. It was actually the very first time they had been to church, and they only went because the relatives had nagged the mom about it; which she often complained about, insisting she didn’t need church to believe in God. On the way home, young Heidi was in the back seat crying, and mom asked what was wrong. Heidi responded, ‘That pastor said that God wanted me to be brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you!’
The second story is of 6 yr-old Ben who was constantly underfoot, making his mother’s chores near impossible. Whenever she turned around, she tripped over him. When she asked him why he insisted on being so close he said, “my teacher told me I should walk in Jesus’ footsteps; but I can’t see Him, so I’m walking in yours.”

The way our Creator designed it, we all have a mother. Which means, at the very least, we can thank God for the woman who gave birth to us, & did not abort us. But hopefully more than that: we might think of some of the various ways our mothers had made sure we knew that just as they would always love us, we also have a God who would always love us == because of Jesus Christ. It’s because of Jesus & His cross, God has not left us as spiritual orphans & out-casts.
So, you see, observing Mother’s Day is not just about you & me remembering to thank our mothers for carrying & birthing us. And it’s not just about thanking them for giving us training & discipline, and for keeping us safe in growing up, and for putting up with our tantrums & sicknesses. Observing Mother’s Day should also be a day when we thank our Creator, the Triune God of Holy Scripture, for making females who would reflect His marvelous DNA-design of naturally being ‘motherly’ for the good of the whole human race.
We give thanks to God for His design of life, which teaches & assures us of His own spiritual new birth, His own loving care, and of His heavenly hope for all of His believing children. This is part of the great value of being created female. And so this is part of what makes it so wrong & sinful & blasphemous for a man to think he can just switch his gender & become ‘a woman’; or for a woman to get surgery & pretend to be a man.
It defies our Creator-God and His physical & corresponding spiritual role for them & their life in His world. We need to deal with spiritually confused people with the truth & gentleness.

*HOW valuable & godly is this position of being female & motherly? Remember that God chose a woman to be a mother to bring the very Son of God into this world to be our Savior. That means that every woman reflects that gospel message to a world in need of rescue from sin & death.
I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you to say ‘thank you’ to the woman who ‘mothered’ you. Maybe it was the same woman who birthed you, & maybe not; but say thank you anyway. And if they ask you why you would thank them, you might think of a long list of good things they did in raising you up. But you can also remind them that their mothering was a reminder of the goodness & mercy of God for the whole world of sinners = who need to hear of God’s good news of Jesus & His cross. Mothers reminds us of the new birth & new life of trusting Christ for our forgiveness and heavenly future.
And if your mother has died & is gone, & you can no longer thank her, you can wish any woman a ‘happy mother’s day’, because they all reflect this gospel plan & grace of God to the world. Observing mother’s day reminds us of the work of God for us in Christ Jesus.
It reminds us of Jesus’ words of promise in John 14 when he says, “I will not leave you as orphans.” Thanks be to God: We Are Orphans No More.