Mother’s Day and Human Traditions

By Larry Ray Hafley

Mother’s Day is a warm and wonderful civil and social day. All who have been blessed by a godly mother are moved by sweet memories and loving feelings on this day. As we should be thankful every day and not just on Thanksgiving Day, so we should honor “father and mother,” not on their day only, but every day (Eph. 6:1-3).

Many churches will celebrate Mother’s Day, giving more attention to it than to “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10). With carnations and corsages, amid applause, they will recognize “the eldest mother in our congregation,” along with the one who has had “the most children.” These same churches sponsor Halloween parties, conduct Easter egg hunts, and pass out candy canes at Christmas, and interrupt worship services to give gifts to the preacher and/or the elders. Every-one smiles and beams with joy and pride.

But it was not always so. When these things first occurred, they were met with wondering bewilderment by a generation which was unaccustomed to such spectacles. However, their initial doubts and fears were eased when they saw their loving mother’s tears. So, they buried their questions and clapped for those who were being honored. Hesitance and reluctance gave way to acceptance. Yes, they took a pinch of bread and a sip of juice, but it was not the Lord’s day. It was Mother’s Day that they observed. “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9).

These churches no longer advertise in their bulletins and on their radio program that “we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent” (1 Pet. 4:11). They no longer say that “we do Bible things in Bible ways, and call Bible things by Bible names” (1 Cor. 4:6; 2 John 9). No, those are the echoes of an age long for-gotten. Instead, they speak of “This special day here in the life of our church family when we pause to honor” our mothers, our fathers, our graduates, or whatever the occasion may be. “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have be-stowed upon you labor in vain” (Gal. 4:10, 11). “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, ac-cording to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:8).

Also, these churches no longer issue strong, scriptural protests against the human traditions of Easter and Christmas. Oh, they may mildly disclaim them, but their works give credence to these human traditions which make worship void and vain (Matt. 15:8, 9). Soon, churches which now honor human holy days will begin to dispute and question heavenly ones. Their observances of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will become more and more elaborate. Meanwhile, their “questions” about “some of our Restoration traditions” (weekly Lord’s supper, music in worship, etc.) will be publicly aired. It is the way error works. It is how denominations are born.

So, today, while we individually observe Mother’s Day, let us re-solve to worship our Lord “in spirit and in truth” (John. 4:24). As my own dear mother reminds me, it is his day and not hers.

Guardian of Truth XL: 9 p. 1
May 2, 1996