Archive for Saturday, May 7, 2011

Faith Forum: What mother-child relationship in the Bible stands out most besides the relationship of Jesus and Mary?

May 7, 2011


The Rev. Mary Newberg Gale, associate pastor, First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway:

How can one choose a single parent-child relationship from the wealth of human experience depicted in the Bible? That is a difficult task.

For me, the relationship between Hannah and Samuel stands out the most. Hannah, one of many women in scripture who struggles with childlessness, faces the shame and ridicule, the sadness and isolation that women around the world feel at this moment. After a long struggle, including prayers and bargainings with God, Hannah receives the very thing her heart longs for — a son. She names him Samuel, which means, “I have asked him of the Lord.” Hannah honors her promises to God, even after knowing what childlessness feels like, by giving Samuel up to God. This task, often forgotten or glossed over, is one of the most difficult in the Bible.

Hannah offers a place for many women to see their own stories played out, mothers or not. She highlights the awesome power and responsibility in motherhood and the mixture of joy and pain that is ever-present. Her story can assure us that we are not alone, that a long line of women surrounds us during our difficulties. Around the world this day there are women struggling with issues of barrenness, facing difficult choices, or waiting for someone to answer their prayers.

Mothers are not just the people who give birth to a child. They are the ones who make incredibly difficult decisions, even agreeing to let children go, in the best interests of the child. They are the ones who open their hearts and arms to become family for children who have none. They are the people who love and care for the children in their classrooms, their after school programs, their churches and their communities. This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate Mothers in all their forms.

— Send e-mail to Mary Newberg Gale at

The Rev. Paul Taylor, Associate Pastor, Mustard Seed Church, 700 Wakarusa Road:

The story of a Jewish woman named Hannah and her son Samuel is compelling. For years, Hannah had been unable to become pregnant. It tormented her to the point where she couldn’t eat and was beside herself with grief.

She went to the temple to pray and tearfully poured out her deep longing to God. She vowed that if God would give her a son, she would dedicate him to God for lifelong service. The priest on duty was watching her pray and initially misinterpreted her sorrow for drunkenness and scolded her. But after Hannah explained the situation, he blessed her and, sure enough, she gave birth to a boy she named Samuel. Hannah kept Samuel at home until he was fully weaned then delivered Samuel to the priest in keeping with her promise. (1 Samuel 1)

Samuel grew up serving God and went on to become both a mighty prophet and the last judge of the nation of Israel. He played a pivotal role in all the spiritual and political events of that nation. Before his death, he anointed the boy David who would someday be the greatest Old Testament King of Israel.

It all started with a woman who wanted desperately to become a mother. Eventually she realized that the only way this was going to happen was for God to do a miracle in her life. But it didn’t end there. Because she was given the desire of her heart, she demonstrated her gratefulness by giving her son back to God.

Was she a bad mother? I don’t believe so. She simply gave her greatest gift back to the one she loved the most. Our Heavenly Father did the same thing when he gave us his greatest gift, the life of his son Jesus. He simply gave his greatest gift to the ones he loved the most.

— Send e-mail to Paul Taylor at


cato_the_elder 6 years, 5 months ago

I enjoy reading this column, but this was the best one I've ever read. Two equally moving accounts of a wonderful biblical story - a great way to start the day. Thank you, Reverend Gale and Reverend Taylor.

canyon_wren 6 years, 5 months ago

My sentiments, exactly, Cato! It is one of their best columns.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 5 months ago

There are so very many compelling stories from antiquity described in the Bible that cover just about all aspects of relationships between peoples and God that it seems impossible to pick out only one.

But the one that stands out the most to me is the adoptive mother and adoptive son relationship between Pharaoh's daughter and Moses, which describes one of the basic foundations of all Abrahamic faiths.

John Kyle 6 years, 5 months ago

They both mention the same people. It must be hard finding positive images of mothers in the bible.

FloridaSunshine 6 years, 5 months ago

What a relaxing...absolutely gorgeous...Mother's Day!!

Reverend Gale, I especially enjoyed your last reminded us of the varied facets of motherhood. Reverend Taylor, you took me back many, many years to the time my little ones were "dedicated" back to God. I thank you both for your lovely, heart-tugging commentaries.

One of my favorite Mother/child stories has always been Elizabeth and John...and I love the fact of Elizabeth's relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Luke, chapter one, tells it all. is the following song, below, written by Gloria and Bill Gaither, surely one of their best...and a truly touching piece for those of us who revere the name of Jesus:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus There's just something about that name Master, Savior, Jesus Like the fragrance after the rain Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Let all heaven and earth proclaim Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away But there's something about that name.


Jesus, the mere mention of His name can calm the storm, heal the broken, raise the dead. At the name of Jesus, I've seen sin-hardened men melted, derelicts transformed, the lights of hope put back into the eyes of a hopeless child...

At the name of Jesus, hatred and bitterness turned to love and forgiveness; arguments cease.

I've heard a mother softly breathe His name at the bedside of a child delirious with fever, and I've watched that little body grow quiet and the fevered brow cool.

I've sat beside a dying saint, her body racked with pain, who in those final fleeting seconds summoned her last ounce of ebbing strength to whisper earth's sweetest name--Jesus, Jesus...

Emperors have tried to destroy it; philosophies have tried to stamp it out. Tyrants have tried to wash it from the face of the earth with the very blood of those who claimed it. Yet still it stands.

And there shall be that final day when every voice that has ever uttered a sound--every voice of Adam's race shall raise in one great mighty chorus to proclaim the name of Jesus--for in that day "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!!!"

Ah--so you see--it was not mere chance that caused the angel one night long ago to say to a virgin maiden, "His name shall be called Jesus." Jesus--Jesus--Jesus. You know, there is something about that name...

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