As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we give thanks to God for blessing us with mothers, and recognise their sacrifices in nurturing and caring for us.
The scriptural definition of “family” is broader than the core family unit with which we are familiar. The core family unit consists of father, mother, children, perhaps with the addition of grandparents, uncles and aunts. Scripture defines “family” as an entire “clan”, one comprising inter-connected networks of relatives. This description reinforces the individual’s holistic development, where all aspects of the person’s spirituality, health, education and welfare are looked after. Like the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”, it takes a clan to support our large Church family and to nurture each child’s holistic development.
The Bible records that faith is not just an individual endeavour. It also involves the family and the support of the larger faith community. Scripture emphasises each generation’s responsibility to pass down their spiritual legacy to the next generation (Ps 78:4–7; Deut 6:7; Josh 24:15; 2 Tim 1:5).
Today, many families in Singapore are small. It is thus my hope that our churches will become the extended spiritual family and faith community that supports each and every of our church members. This is not the endeavour of a few committed individuals. We need to build an entire “kampung” or “village” where the Church family works in unity to groom the next generation of spiritually-healthy children and youths.
As a female pastor, I view myself as being someone sent by our Lord Father to act as a spiritual mother in our large Church family. Mothers, may I remind you that when we are in church, we are not only mothers to our own children. We also owe a duty of care to be spiritual mothers to other children in our Church family. I invite all mothers to join in this “faith village” to build a strong support network to hold up our large Church family.
Let all the children who enter the Church experience the multiple layers of care from their spiritual grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters. Let them be surrounded by a Church family who is willing to spend time to care for them, and to act as role models and mentors.
The Rev Dr Niam Kai Huey is the Pastor-in-charge of Sengkang Methodist Church.
Photo courtesy of the Rev Niam Kai Huey