Two Methodists started Mother’s Day

Jesus said that he came so that “they could have life to the fullest.” (John 10:10). What does this mean?

Abundant life involves physical and mental health, spiritual wholeness and healthy relationships. Thus, we can know that it is God’s desire that every mother, child and family not only survive, but thrive with abundant life.

Motherhood is a noble calling in life! We certainly have some beautiful examples of Biblical mothers who lived abundant lives in their childbearing and child-rearing years.

In the Bible, mothers such as Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth and Mary are known for their depth of character as bearers of new life. They sang, defended and grieved the challenges of pregnancy, childbirth and maternal bonding with their offspring. Other Biblical mothers, including Rachel and the wife of Phinehas, died after difficult labors.

Two Methodist lay persons, Ann Jarvis and her daughter Anna, are the founding mothers of Mother’s Day in the U.S. Ann Jarvis observed the suffering caused by poverty and organized women’s clubs in the 1860s to serve suffering mothers and children. She was in a coal-mining part of what is now West Virginia, and envisioned a day to lift the concerns of mothers and honor them.

Her daughter Anna took up the mantle, and the first Mother’s Day was observed at a Methodist church in Grafton, W.V., in 1908 and at the Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.

Motherhood is sacred, and our faith calls us to help Jesus make it abundant for all — especially mothers in that tender time of maternity.  

— Dale Clem, First United Methodist Church, Anniston

Mothers are highly respected in Islam

After God and His Prophet, mother is the most respected person in the teachings of Islam.

In the Quran, there are verses about respect of both parents: “Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: “My Lord! bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood” (17:23-24).

And then there are special verses about mothers only: “And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command) ‘Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents’” (31:14) .

And also: “We have enjoined on man Kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months. At length, when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says ‘O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favour which Thou hast bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents’” (46:15).

Prophet Muhammad said that mother has three times more rights than father.

— Muhammad Haq, Anniston Islamic Center