". . .forsake not your mother's teaching."
Quinn G. Caldwell
Much will be made today of all sorts of supposed motherly virtues. But here's who I'm especially loving today: moms who make their kids go to Sunday school.
Monica of Hippo was a Christian in a time when many around her were not. Saddled with a philandering pagan husband and a dissolute mother-in-law, the last thing she needed was an ungrateful party-boy for a son, but that's what she got: her son Augustine. She spent her whole life telling him about the goodness of life with God; legend has it that she wept for him every single night until he finally converted—and became one of the most important Christian theologians, ever.
Helena of Constantinople also had a pagan husband and son, but she loved her some God. Which isn't to say she was perfect; she once had her daughter-in-law put to death by suffocation in an overheated bath (less-than-perfect mothers take heart; you've never messed up that badly!). Helena spent most of her later years traveling around Palestine, discovering the locations of the most important events of Jesus' life, not to mention (legend has it) the True Cross and the nails used to crucify Jesus, which she had placed in her son's helmet and bridle to protect him in battle. Emperor Constantine's eventual conversion is usually attributed to a vision, but surely it couldn't have taken place without a lifetime of Christian education and holy field trips led by his mom.
God, thanks for all the moms who make their kids go to Sunday school, and who tell them about the faith themselves. May we all be converted by their love. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is Pastor and Teacher at Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, in Syracuse, New York, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ, published by The Pilgrim Press.