My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
We continue our celebration of our Methodist heritage during this month, and, as what is now our custom on Mother’s Day, we turn our attention to the “Mother of Methodism”, Susanna Wesley. If there is any truth to the argument that ‘all relationships emerge out of the basic human relationship of mother-child’, allow me to look at the relationship of Susanna and her eldest daughter, Emilia, affectionately called, “Emily”.
In his “The Wesley Sisters”, Rev. Frederick E Maser, described Emily as a “happy, contented person…well proportioned, with a pleasant, wholesome appearance…[and] a delightful sense of humour.” She was also “quick to learn and became a good classical scholar.” However, a turning point came when she migrated to London to find work as a governess. While living with an uncle, Matthew, she met and fell in love with a Robert Leybourne, “the only man whom she ever truly loved.” Unfortunately, Emily could not find work and was forced to return home. Correspondence continued between the two but ended when her brother, Samuel, took a dislike to Leybourne and then her mother commanded her to break off the relationship. The encounter changed Emily’s disposition from thereon in. Emily later found work as a teacher. Unfortunately, the school broke up and her mother, in particular, “pressured her” to return home. Fast forward, Emily did get married to a Robert Harper and had one daughter. The marriage did not last. Having a strong relationship with John over the years, Emily eventually became a Methodist, although she was critical of the movement at first. Yet her attitude may have changed through the “influence of her mother who strongly supported her sons and the Methodist movement.”
I believe that a sincere reflection on our relationships with our “mothers”, for better or for worse, deeply influences our celebrations of Mother’s Day, or lack thereof. How has our mother-child relationship influenced us? How is the relationship influencing us now, most of all in our relations with God in Christ and “Mother Church”?
To all “mothers”, heartfelt thanks and have a blessed and wonderful Day!
Your pastor and friend
Mark S Christmas