Mothers’ Union Devotion Wednesday 25th August 2021
As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2. 11-12
I have just been reading a novel, The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. It is set in the world of the compliers of the first Oxford English Dictionary. Many of the characters are genuine historical figures but the fictional hero is a young girl who begins to collect words or meanings of words that are not being included in the dictionary. The premiss of the novel is that words can differ in meaning when used by women rather than men. Such as an additional use of the word Cabbage by mothers – ‘Come here my little cabbage and give me a hug.’
This sense of multiple meanings to a word came to mind when reading the passage of St Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians set for today. His words are meant to encourage us in our mission to bring the love of our Lord into the lives of those we serve. Paul refers to how he has acted like a father to the members of the church at Thessalonica when he encouraged them. A quick glance at the dictionary, however, narrows the word father to one who merely creates someone or something, or protects them. The caring aspect which Paul expresses is missing. The definition of mother as a verb, however, is ‘to treat a person with great kindness and love and to try to protect them from anything dangerous or difficult.’
We know that the Scriptures are the living word of God and so speak to us as individuals, using words that convey multiple meanings depending on how God is calling us at any particular time. Indeed, Paul continues in his letter:
We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. v. 13
This sense of God’s word being active in us gives us courage to follow Paul’s example of mission within the Mothers’ Union whether we are mothers, fathers or neither. What matters is whether we act as Paul did. Encouraging the people, we encounter to live lives which reflect the love and care that God has for each of us.
With all my love and prayers