As our congregation celebrated the fifth day of Easter yesterday (May 14), or as early church fathers called it—the eighth day or the day of new creation—I reflected again on what the difference one’s view of the role of historic theology meant for the church in our day. I am convinced most evangelical churches celebrated Mother’s Day as the central event of the day on May 14. I have no empirical data to tell you what percentage actually made their service into a celebration of Mother’s Day but I do have little doubt that the majority of non-Catholic churches in America turned this day, and the worship of their local church, into an event centered upon mothers.

Over the past fourteen years I have preached widely in churches across North America. I have experienced almost every tradition and form of worship known to evangelicals. On many occasions I have been in the pulpit of churches on Mother’s Day. On several of these occasions I was even urged to preach about Mother’s Day. (One church changed my speaking date to protect the church from a message with a note of repentance that would be less than appropriate on Mother’s Day.) I have witnessed the use of songs, special music and specially created forms, all employed to honor our mothers. This is a big event, especially in our modern evangelical and anti-liturgical settings.

I am not suggesting that we should not honor our mothers. Nor am I suggesting that we should not extend warm Christian greetings to mothers on this particular day. (Our pastor began with a public greeting to mothers and thanked God for the mothers in the congregation!) I am not even suggesting that the day never become an occasion for preaching on the role of mothers, especially in the modern age where motherhood is under the assault of radical feminism.

What I am suggesting is much less ambitious. In churches that despise liturgical forms in worship, the simple truth is that Mother’s Day becomes one of the modern “feast (celebration) days” of the church. Simply put, Hallmark Theology has replaced historical/biblical theology in our worship. The even greater tragedy is that we do not stop creating these new forms of worship each Mother’s Day. We have now created all kinds of special days; e.g. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4) replete with patriotic celebrations of America, Labor Day, etc. Then there are the endless special days and weeks all created to draw seekers.

I wonder if people who promote these events in evangelical churches realize just how much they employ liturgies they made up in America. I have seen evangelical churches react in virtual violence to recovering acts of historical liturgy as simple as “the passing of the peace” or the “reciting of the creed,” or “weekly communion.” Yet these same churches never think to question these various modern celebrations they hold in their yearly cycle. They even react to the lectionary, when a minister adopts it, but then choose to endorse preaching only on subjects that fit their style and culture.

Simple question: “Did your congregation celebrate the event of resurrection yesterday or did you make Mother’s Day the central event of your worship?” Your answer will tell you whether or not your church is committed to reforming public worship biblically and theologically or to accommodating the culture in ways that have almost nothing to do with the gospel of Christ.

Related Posts


  1. Gene Redlin May 16, 2006 at 10:02 am

    Wow, Do I ever agree with this.
    We have let the world dictate our church celebrations.
    In not of. But carried to logical extention how soon do we discount 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and that old roman holiday, Easter.
    Balance. Honor Moms. But centrality of the word.
    By the way, Pastor did NOT mention mothers day in his sermon at all. Only was in the announcements.
    I knew a church that forbade their people to have a tree at Christmas.
    Not the best plan.

  2. Kyle May 16, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    While I agree with the sentiment that you convey, there’s also a danger in just blindly accepting historical liturgy. The problem isn’t necessarily with celebrating/recognizing the various non-Christian holidays, but the problem is with blind acceptance.
    Celebrating communion weekly (I don’t mean the celebration itself, I mean the _weekly_ observance), reciting the creed, passing the peace, etc. are all good things, no doubt. But we have to make sure that we treat them as they are: adiaphora. We shouldn’t claim to have more truth or be more Godly because we celebrate certain historical traditions. I’m not charging you with this at all, I’m just saying that some take it to this level.
    The end result of all of this is that all celebration/recognition, both spiritual *and* secular, should demand a faithful response. A Mother’s Day sermon is by no means out of the question, but it must focus on our redemption, and our response to it. This past Sunday I was blessed to have heard a sermon that did just this. The pastor specifically preached on the role of a Godly mother instilling faith in her children. Using Timothy as an example, he showed how the faith of his mother and grandmother directly influenced him. Furthermore, they, as a result of being his spiritual ancestors, became the spiritual ancestors of all those Timothy ministered to. He then encouraged all mothers to be faithful in raising their children in faith. He also preached about how God uses such lived-out faith to bring many to Jesus Christ.
    *These* are the kinds of things we need to hear, not just some poppycock, feel-good sermon that merely recognizes the event and not the One who gives us the grace to even begin to celebrate the event. And certainly, if I’m understanding you correctly, there is danger in such celebration, since it can almost become a sort of idolatry.

  3. sean dietich July 6, 2006 at 1:06 am

    I really enjoy your blog! Thanks for your honest heart and truthfulness, it is refreshing to hear someone be real. Its cool to read about real people who serve Jesus.
    I am a musician, and I would be honored if you would check out my music. All music on my site is free for download. Anyway, don’t want to be a pest, I just thought that I’d share.
    “All my music is free.”

Comments are closed.

My Latest Book!

Use Promo code UNITY for 40% discount!

Recent Articles