By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
Where would we be without our mothers? Mothers keep the world on track. Mothers never stop caring. Mothers never stop giving.
Sometimes our generous mothers suffer from exhaustion. The gift of Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the irreplaceable mothers in our lives. One of the best gifts we can give is the gift of gratitude, the gift of thanksgiving, perhaps even the gift of doing the dishes!
My mother has often shown her love to me in delicious, unforgettable meals. Love and food are intricately linked. Can you think of anyone you really love that you have not eaten a meal with? Mother’s Day itself is a major time for families to gather with their mothers and eat together.
My father keeps video records of our family gatherings. From looking at our family videos, you would think that all we ever do is celebrate and eat together. Good food is wonderful but without the presence of family and especially the mothers in our lives, food can leave you rather empty inside. Experts tell us that a lot of over-eating and under-eating has to do with deep love-deficits in our lives.
When my father showed his appreciation to my mom, he would often express it by taking the whole family out to the White Spot restaurant. The White Spot for me symbolized quality, caring, and family. The second favorite spot that my father brought us to was Yen Lock’s in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. I initially used to stay at home with my grandmother, as I didn’t like Chinese food. Eventually I overcame my culinary aversion and joined my mother and family for the Yen Lock celebrations. Ironically Chinese food, especially chicken chow mein, is now my favorite meal!
One of my favorite food-inspired paintings is the famous Holman Hunt painting of Jesus standing with a lantern and patiently knocking on a weed-covered, closed door. Holman Hunt’s inspiration for the painting came straight from Revelation 3:20: “Behold I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together”. I was often puzzled why Jesus would want to eat with me, if I would open the door of my heart. One day I realized that all true love, all true relationship involves food. No wonder one of the highest act of worship involves bread and wine, eaten in remembrance of this wonderful relationship with Jesus.
My mother, like her mother before, is a true worshipper. Her faith has been a great inspiration to me. Thank you mother for inviting me to supper with Jesus, when I was wandering in the wilderness, lost and hungry. Thank you mom for all those great meals year in and year out. I now see more than ever that every portion was prepared with heart-felt love. I am a better person today because of that unfailing love.
Food is love! No wonder so many people around the world are discovering the meaning of love as they sit down for dinner at an Alpha course. Lovingly prepared by mothers and others, Alpha dinners are becoming the highlight of many people’s weeks. Through Alpha dinners many mothers and others are discovering authentic, lasting community in a fragmented world. After my own mother attended an Alpha Course dinner, she couldn’t stop raving about it!
My prayer for this Mother’s Day is that each of us will sit down for dinner with Jesus, the lover of our souls.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
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