Focus on Faith

Phil Collins is Pastor at Willow Park Church Kelowna.

It has been well documented that what men need and want is honest communication. I recall an extraordinary conversation with four men about their mothers.

It was clumsy at first. I posed the question, describe your mom, in a word? The first man, raised in the slums of Pittsburgh explained, how his mom was petite, her nickname was curbs because she would laughingly say, she could sit on a curbstone, and her feet would not touch the road.

The word from him was hospitality. Her welcoming smile as the boys from the neighbourhood would come and feast, they keep in touch to this day.

The second guy, a prairie boy, a Calgary Flames supporter, said his mother was always was the peacemaker, bringing sibling unity and allowed us to find our way.

A fellow Brit from northern England who passionately supports Manchester United spoke about his mom’s consistency. She was always attentive, championing her many children and then proudly dropping into the conversation that she had been a fashion model in the 1960s. Laughter filled the air.

The final contributor, who was raised in the heart of British Columbia, and furnished the bushy beard to prove it, added that his mom was sacrificial and always living an example of generosity to him and his brothers.

A bouquet of verbal appreciation appeared in front of us — hospitable, peacemaker, champion, sacrificial.

My contribution was unconditional love. My mother was a brave lone parent who lived out unconditional love towards her two energetic boys.

Abraham Lincoln famously said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

We wondered what words would Jesus have used to describe his mother? The Gospels paint a beautiful portrait of Mary. From her annunciation to the Day of Pentecost, Mary was always present. Her focus was on Christ, nursing him in Bethlehem, fleeing to Egypt to protect him from the murderous Herod; they became refugees in the streets of Alexandria and presenting him at the temple for education.

Years later, when Mary was probably a widow reliant on her son. Mary followed him on his itinerant travels, protected him and comprehended that it was no longer about the narrow and strict Jewish family loyalty but about a new family of faith. Not about flesh and blood but being a follower of Christ.

She stood by at the crucifixion and never left his side. Jesus could have used many words to describe Mary — focused, nurturing, protecting, faithful, devoted and loving.

The power of mothers in our lives is profound, as the old Spanish proverb says, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.”

As a member of the clergy, I believe it. Happy Mothers Day.

Phil Collins is a pastor at Willow Park Church Kelowna.