The Mother and the Home

Mothers Day Sermon by Carey E. Morgan

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you;
and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. — Isa. 66: 13.

 

THIS is Mothers’ Day. Each of us will find his
way into his own memory field to-day and,
wandering in and out along the pathway of the past,
he will gather forget-me-nots and heartsease for a
bouquet. “What an armful of flowers, with nectar
sweet as that in the cups of rose-buds and with
fragrance outmatching Arabic gardens! You may go
where you like along these roads of memory, into
the orchard, or the meadow, or the woodland; but
let me go straight to my mother, whose long absence
makes the world a lonesome place for me after all
these years. I want to hear her speak my name once
more. I want to feel, once more, the touch of her
caress.

Man’s first home was in the Garden of Eden; his
last home is heaven. This shows what God would
have the home to be. He Himself built the first and
the last, but man has built all the others. Man has
made many mistakes in his part in this age-old task;
but, whether he built this shelter for love in a cave,
a cabin or a cottage; whether it is built of logs or «
brick or chiseled stone — it is the best thing he has
ever done, the best thing in spite of his failures, and
the most important thing.

 

 

Is there anything in music to compare with the
laughter of childhood, in the happy fellowship of the
fireside? Is there anything in sculpture to match the
hearthstone group? Does not the mother with the
light of love in her eye and with a happy child at
her knee outrival Raphael’s ”Sistine Madonna”? Is
there anywhere in fiction a love story like that writ-
ten in the memory of home life? Is there any enact-
ment of Congress or Parliament of as far-carrying
influence as the law of love written in the hearts of
parents and child? Is there any orchard like that
in which child-life and the fruit of family affection
grow? Is there any garden to match that garden of
good will in which the flowers of love open and
bloom? Is there any soil so fertile or so friendly
to the seeds of virtue as that spot of earth which we
call home? Man has made many mistakes in this
holy business of home-building; but in spite of his
mistakes he has never done anything else so worth
while.

I think God never loved us more than when He
planned the home. His mighty heart must have
throbbed with sympathy and good will, and His love
for the sons and daughters of men must have been
aflame, when He thought out the home relationship
and when He conceived this place for rest, for shelter,
for happiness and for love.

It is to be noted, too, that He has so fixed it that
home does not depend upon the size of the house,
or the expensiveness of the furnishings, or the ex-
clusiveness of social sanctions, or the fame of world-
ly success. Only a few, comparatively, can have these
things; but the humblest may have a home. I am not
saying that such things are not worth while. They

are. I am not saying they are inimical to the home.
They are not. I am saying that they are not neces-
sary. Many a poor man goes to his home in the
evening with a gladder heart than many a rich man.
Get these things if you can — the beautiful rug, the
costly instrument of music, the dainty porcelain, the
exquisite vase, the canvas of the masters, the cozy
corner; get them all if you can; but these are not
the most important things.

Manhood has more to do with the home than
money; womanhood, than wardrobes; character, than
coupons; patience, than pictures; amiability, than
architecture; virtue, than vases; and love, than lands
and lawns. Let the house be furnished first of all
with light, laughter and love; with patience, purity
and peace; with honor, health and happiness; with
faith, fealty and freedom; with reason, righteousness
and religion, and then, as if by the divine alchemy,
the house has become a home.

The mother is the soul of the home. This is the
language of sentiment, but it is nobly true. The
foundations of the home may be of wood, brick or
stone; the floor may be inlaid hardwood, or pine or
slab or beaten sod; the roof may be shingles, slate or
clapboards; the illumination may be tallow candles,
coal-oil lamp, gas jet or electric bulb; however or of
whatever sort these material things may be, the home
is inanimate without her. Without her it has no
breath of life. She is its heart-beat, she is its at-
mosphere. Her heart pumps its life current. She is
its pulse. She is its life. She is its light. She tends
its altar and keeps the altar fires alive. Without
her the home is pulseless, inarticulate, empty, dead.
Without her, home is not home.

 

 

I wonder if I might be bold enough to speak of
dead homes. There are many such. God have pity!
There is the chill of death in their chambers, for the
fires of love have gone out. The darkness of the
grave broods over them, for the light of love is in
eclipse. They are voiceless as the tomb, for love has
been stricken dumb. Their grave-clothes have been
woven in the loom of ill temper, or in the loom of
selfishness, or in the loom of wastefulness, or in the
loom of unfaithfulness. No one can bring these dead
homes back to life but the Lord of life, who has
power over death and the grave. But as long as the
mother’s love lives, the home will live. She is the
breath of its life. She is its fragrance. She is its
glory, its soul.

God needed help to show His love and so He gave
us mothers. “What an hour that was in the councils
of heaven when the thought of mother was con-
ceived first in the heart of God; when the plan was
wrought out to nourish the seed of life in her flesh,
to warm it into life by the warmth of her blood, to
graft the new life into her life, to make her soul its
shelter and her heart its cradle lined with the eider-
down of love, to turn her touch into a caress and her
smile into sunshine and her voice into a lullaby and
her affection into a fortress. The mother, I think, is
the final proof of God.

How beautiful motherhood is! The baby is in
her arms. He lies on her bosom. His chubby fingers
play in her hair. His cheek is against her cheek.
His arms are around her neck. His little feet trample
her lap. His breath fans the fires of her love into
a glow that shows in color in her cheeks. Long be-
fore he can talk, his dimples, like tiny mouths, speak

of his love of her. The mother and her child! What
a picture! No wonder sculptors have chiseled this
scene in marble, painters have portrayed it on can-
vas, poets have put it into songs and public speakers
have pictured it in words. There are many beautiful
things in the world — an orchard in bloom, sunshine
on the hills, a valley of wild flowers, a field of ripened
grain, a wildwood in the springtime, a setting sun
and its trailing glory; but there is nothing this side
of heaven to match the beauty of the mother with
her babe in her arms.

How wonderful motherhood is ! How may we ac-
count for its strength, with no such physical organiza-
tion as that of the man; and yet unmatched in
strength for vigils, for carrying love’s load, for
patient endurance, for unweary waiting, for answer-
ing uncounted calls, for ministries that strain the
soul. Is there no limit to the mother’s sacrifice?
Will her arms never tire? Will her dear fingers
never grow weary? By what alchemy is her feminine
weakness turned into unequaled strength? Love is
the alchemist. Love lifts her load. Love links her
to her task and multiplies her power. Love is the
only possible explanation of motherhood. Love exalts,
strengthens, beautifies, glorifies.

How divine motherhood is! I have seen a mother
reach through prison bars to touch her boy’s hands,
and while an agony like that of death gripped her
heart, her eyes looked into his as they did in cradle
days. Nothing could change her, however much he
may have been changed. He was hers, the fruit of
her womb, and in spite of the turnkey’s key she
locked him in her heart. I have seen her wait in
her humble home for her boy’s long-delayed return.

 

When every one else had ceased to think of him, she
had ceased to think of every one else. I have seen her
eyes fill with reminiscent tears as she thought of the
empty cradle, and her empty arms, and her lone-
some love. I have heard her sing her crooning cradle-
song when the child, for whose soothing she had
learned it, had long since been listening to the songs
of angels.

What is it I am trying to do? Well, I am just
trying to keep you from forgetting. Perhaps if I
can make you remember these things, the fact of your
remembering may mean something to your own
mother. Possibly I may help you to smile at her
oftener. I am thinking that she might be hungry
to feel your arms around her neck, and that, if you
are away from her, you might send her a message.
Some of us, I among others, would have to send our
messages by way of the throne of God. I want you
to touch her cheeks as in childhood days. She has
carried heavy loads for you. I do not want your
neglect of her to be piled on top of her already
heavy load.

”Nobody knows the work it takes
To keep the home together.
Nobody knows of the steps it takes.
Nobody knows but mother.

” Nobody listens to childish woe
Which kisses only smother.
Nobody’s pained by naughty blows,
Nobody, only mother.

” Nobody knows of the sleepless care
Bestowed on baby brother.
Nobody knows of the tender prayer,
Nobody, only mother.

 

”Nobody knows of the lessons taught
Of loving one another;
Nobody knows of the patience sought,
Nobody, only mother.

”Nobody knows of the anxious fears
Lest darlings may not weather
The storms of life in after years.
Nobody knows but mother.

“Nobody kneels at the throne above
To thank the heavenly Father
For the sweetest gift — a mother’s love.
Nobody can but mother.”

You will not expect the impossible of mother.
She is only human. It is all right to have a high
ideal of motherhood, but we must be slow to condemn
if she does not always measure up to it. Her love
will prompt her to be brave in the midst of her
cares. Her load will never be light, but she will
cry to God for strength to carry it. She will be
strained, tested, tried, put to it by her many duties.
Her nerves will be keyed up often until they are
ready to snap. She will have many hindrances and
many trials of temper, and there will be confusion,
clamor and uncounted claims and noise. But she will
try to remember that in the home too much noise
is better than too great silence. She will remember
that there comes to some homes a silence that sounds
louder in the lonesome chambers of the soul than
all the clamor of childish voices. She will know that
it is better to have muddy shoes on the carpet than
to have them cleaned and laid away. She will know
that it is better to have finger prints on the window-
panes and mirrors than to have the fingers of a great
sorrow clutching at her heart-strings.

 

“The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands
And the little tin soldier is heavy with rust
And his musket molds in his hands.

” Time was when the little toy dog was new
And the soldier was passing fair;
But that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

” ‘Now, don’t go till I come, he said,
“And don’t you make any noise!
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
He dreamt of his pretty toys.

”And as he was dreaming, an angel’s song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue.
Ah! the years are many, the years are long,
But little toy friends are true.

”Aye, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand.
Each in ‘its same old place.
Awaiting the touch of a little hand
And the smile of a little face.

”And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair.
What has become of our Little Boy Blue
Since he kissed them and put them there. ‘ ‘

So, with all her load of love, she will have sorrows
and heartaches.

But what response can be made to the mother’s
sacrifice? Can the younger children also help her to
carry her load of love? Their young feet can run
many an errand. Their swift hands can unravel many
a tangle. Their new strength can lighten many a
task. They can love and help carry her burden.
They can laugh and lift, and their laughter will
lighten the load. Their desire to help will help more
than their effort to help. Their sympathy will lift

like a block and tackle. Their good will will lift like
a derrick. Their love will lift like a Corliss engine.
It is not so much, after all, what can be done with
the hands as what can be done with the heart, that
helps.

Oh, son or daughter, whoever you are, wherever
you are, thank God for your mother. The very name
in my memory is filled to the brim with gifts from
God. Its syllables on my tongue are heart-throbs.
Its letters are leaping pulses. It’s the holiest name
in human speech except the name of God, who pities
like a father, who comforts like a mother and who
loves like both.