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Mother's Day and UMC

My eyes have seen the glory

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Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics to The Battle Hymn of the Republic in 1861.  The Battle Between the States had started early the same year.  Five years after our Civil War had ended, in 1870, Howe was upset by the death and slaughter of over 1 and half million people, plus the 56,000 soldiers who died in prison during the war. She called on all Mothers to come together and protest what she saw as the senselessness of their sons killing the sons of other mothers. Thirty-eight years later, Anna Reeves took that spark for peace from Howe and campaigned for the creation of Mother’s Day for her mother and in honor of peace.

On Sunday, May 10, 1908, at Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia hosted the Mother’s Day that we much celebrate today.  White Carnations were Anna Reeves’ mother’s favorite flower, and she arranged that at Andrew’s Methodist Church, they gave out 2 white carnations flowers to each mother, thus starting this tradition. White carnations for honoring deceased mothers, while red or pink pays tribute to Mothers who are still alive and "guilt-ing"   their children.

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This movement grew from that service that by 1909, 46 states were holding Mother’s Day services. It was not till 1912, West Virginia’s became the first state to officially recognize Mother’s Day.  Six years after the church celebration, in 1914, President Wilson signed it into a national observance, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Anna Reeves was upset that the message of Mother’s Day got lost in the commercialism that followed it with flower sales. 

Today in the US, the original message of recognizing mothers and honoring of peace is still lost to the month of May being the highest sales of flowers.  Restaurants claim the busiest day of the year. Long distance telephone calls peak on this day and Mothers’ day is the 2nd highest gift-giving day of the year behind Christmas.

Mothers for peace.

I am reminded of news reports of the mothers who stand up against street gangs,  child abuse, and violence in school.

I am reminded of the mothers in Argentina, who still today wear white shawls at the Plaza de Mayo, that is in front of that country’s version of the White House, in protest of the 1970s Dirty War, where Argentina’s government kidnapping or killed 30,000 men, many young sons,  under the military dictatorship of that time.

Judy Shepard advocating for LGBT rights after the hateful death of her gay son.

Cindy Sheehan, who camped outside President George W.  Bush’s Texas ranch to protest of her son’s and all other mother’s sons’ death during the war in Iraq.

Very much of the peace existing in the worlds is carried on the shoulders of women.

We sing these songs, Weary Mothers and Oh Mary in honor of
Julia Ward Howe,
Anna Reeves, and
 all women and their culture of peace.