Martin Luther and Mother's Day
In Martin Luther’s lifetime, Mother’s Day had not yet been established as a Holiday. That’s not all that surprising. According to the Roman Catholic Church at that time, the holiest of people did not become parents. Holy men were to become priests or monks while holy women were to become nuns. Celibacy was considered a highly honorable discipline, while marriage, child-bearing, and child-raising were all thought to be hindrances to one’s personal ministry and Christian walk. Luther described it like this; “The godless world is moved neither by God’s ordinances nor by the sweet nature of little children who are produced in marriage; it sees only the shortcomings and hardships in marriage – it does not see the great treasure and benefit that is in it… Marriage is the fount of the entire human race, and nevertheless this sacred origin of life is concealed and held in contempt, such that it has the reputation of being a fleshy, worldly way of life.To Luther, however, marriage and childbearing were both precious gifts given to us by God. He went as far as calling child-birth a divine work."
Being a mother, however, is much more than simply having given birth. Luther says that “it is not enough that a child is born… for heathens also bring forth children. A person has to raise children to the service, praise, and honor of God… The greatest good in married life, that which makes all suffering and labor worthwhile, is that God grants offspring and commands that they be brought up to worship and serve Him. In all the world this is the noblest and most precious work, because to God there can be nothing dearer than the salvation of souls. Most certainly father and mother are apostles, bishops, and priests to their children, for it is they who make them acquainted with the gospel."
According to Martin Luther, being a mother makes you an apostle – sent out to teach the Gospel to your child. It makes you a bishop – to care for your child and discipline your child. It makes you a priest, who stands between God and your child, passing His gifts of protection, love, and providence from God to them, and interceding on behalf of your child to God in continual prayer. Moms, you all do great work for your children, and deserve to be recognized, not only on Mother’s Day, but all year long! As Martin Luther said of motherhood; “We must lift this estate even higher, praise and honor it even more, adorn and embellish it, just as God Himself does!”
May we all lift up our mothers, praise, honor, and adorn them on Mother’s Day and every day!