1 Samuel 1, for Mother's Day
"...Year after year Hannah prays for a child. Years of waiting, years without signs, years without words of hope, do not dissuade her from praying, year after year, because Hannah’s desire for a child is so deep.
She goes to the temple, even though, as a woman, she must stay on the edge. She does not allow this statement of her inferiority to silence her strong voice, but instead acts boldly on her own behalf. Hannah is audacious enough to make a bargain with God – “give me a son and I will give him back to you.” As Hannah speaks to God – mouthing her words because they are only intended for God – the priest Eli decides she must be drunk. But Hannah, we know, is a bold soul, and is not intimidated. She tenaciously responds, “Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety!”
Hannah will not be silenced.
Hannah’s story offers us a chance to reflect on the limits of our power, and the power of our hope. Humans, especially those with wealth and privilege, live on this earth with immense power over our lives and our surroundings. We can travel throughout the cosmos. We can clone life. We can kill a whole country at once. We have God-like power over life and death. When those of us with money have fertility challenges, we can spend tens of thousands of dollars on hormone treatment, in vitro fertilization – even find a surrogate mother. What would we need prayer – or God - for?
But our power is limited. Many with or without money still do not have longed-for children, or other loving, intimate relationships. Children, or other satisfying, purposeful engagement with this world through work or art. We still can’t buy health or comfort or love. No amount of wealth and privilege can ensure a life without struggle and loss. In fact, the more we accumulate, the more precarious our lives feel because we are living so dangerously far from the simple, solid ground....."