Mothers Are the Great Evangelists in Our Lives
How old am I? One of the big stories over the past few months before the coronavirus took over was that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were quitting their duties as the royal family. I don’t know how many times that has happened, but I know they are not the first.
Yet still, the act, the choice is very extraordinary and rare. Last year around this time they were in the news for the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. It may have been the first time in recent history that an interracial child was born into the royal family.
The year before that we were all celebrating the marriage of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle. In my mind it seems like only a few years before that we watched Prince Harry’s parents get married early in the morning — Princess Diana & Prince Charles. That was back on July 29, 1981. Then the sad and tragic story of separation, divorce, and death of Princess Diana back on August 31, 1977 at the age of 36.
Maybe I am so taken with the story because that’s how old my mother was when she died of cancer. I was 17, so I know what it is to lose your mother at a young age. I never dreamed that one day I would be watching both their sons get married and have children. I really never expected that Prince Harry, the younger son, would get married to an African-American. I really never thought I would see that special couple step back from the Royal Family and move to Canada, then leave Canada and move to the Los Angeles area.
What will happen next? I’m wondering what is the next shoe that’s going to drop. What is the next drama that is getting ready to take place in their life, and Harry is only 35 and Megan is only 38 years old? No matter what it is I am sure it will be great and exciting.
Someone said that watching the royal family is like watching the longest running reality TV show in the history of television. The truth is, we probably feel that way about our own families.
The key character in the majority of our families is the role played by mother. This is truly a plot change that we didn’t see coming. How brave is Prince Harry to make this choice? How unique was Princess Diana to bring up her children in a way that this choice would even be thought about? Even though Princess Diana died many years ago, she is still bringing change to our world through her sons and their choices.
In Atlanta, Georgia, there stands a monument to Henry W. Grady, leader of the New South, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, and eloquent orator. When the International Convention of the YMCA met in Atlanta, the delegates clasped hands at the closing session of the event and sang a Christian hymn.
Grady refused to join hands and to sing the hymn. Grady said to the young men, “You notice that I could not join hands with you and sing that Christian hymn. You young men have something I do not have. Years ago in my old home in Athens with my dear mother, I used to have it. The hurly-burly and the business of the world have swept it out of my life. I want to get it back. Please tell me how to get it.”
As best they could, the young men told him what Jesus meant to them. The next day this famous Southerner went to his office and told his associates that he would be away for a week and that he wished no one to know where he was going. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I shall report back here when I get ready.”
He took the first train to the home of his childhood. Reaching home, he said, “Mother, I have come to stay a while. I want to go back to the old days and have you treat me just as you used to when I was a little boy. Make me some little pie-dough cakes and apple turnovers and some ginger horses with raisin eyes.” In the quiet afternoons he would throw himself down on the couch and say, “Mother, tell me Bible stories as you used to, about Joseph and his coat of many colors, about David and his sling, and about Daniel and the lions.” Sometimes he would go to the table and bring the family Bible and say, “Mother, read me again the sweet story of the birth of Christ and of the angels that sang and of the wise men who followed the star. Read me how He went about doing good and how He suffered and died.”
When he would retire at night he would say, “Mother, come and hear me say my goodnight prayers,” and then as many great men have before him, he prayed, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.” Then he would say, “Mother, put out the candles in the hall and sing to me as you used to do.” Standing in the hallway, his mother sang the song she loved so well, “I think when I read that sweet story of old, when Jesus was here among men, how He called little children as lambs to His fold, I should like to have been with Him then.”
Grady stayed two weeks in his boyhood home with his mother. Something had happened in his life. He had found the fountain of life everlasting in his mother’s religion. Returning to Atlanta, he found an invitation from the New England Society of New York City to be their annual speaker.
He went and gave his great oration which thrilled the country from ocean to ocean, “The Old South and the New.” It was the first time that the New South had spoken eloquently since the Civil War, with a message of love and peace and hope and reconciliation.
Christian mothers are the greatest personal evangelists. I don’t know that everyone can go back and do what he did, but mothers are the great evangelists. I am told that it was a true story, but I can not testify to it. I can testify that my mother was the true evangelist in my life. That is why mothers and wives must continue on. So much depends on your sacrifice; so many generations will be blessed as your reward, Continue on!
Mothers are and should be honored on a weekly basis, not just once or twice a year. I believe it was President Abraham Lincoln who implied that all of his success came because of his mother. It takes more than giving birth to a child, to be a real mother.
A great calling, an even greater responsibility.
God Bless all mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!
Cummings is pastor of Bethlehem Temple in Wheeling and Shiloh Apostolic Faith Assembly in Weirton.