For Mother’s Day – A Litany (revised since 2018)

*Note: I originally wrote this in 2018, but have updated to reflect the reality of our world in 2022.

Reader #1:

To you who have nurtured us, who have struggled so that we might live and flourish in the world.

To you who have cared for our bodies and souls, who have given of yourself to make our future possible.

To you, our mothers who birthed us.

To you, our mothers who adopted us as your own.

To you, our mothers by choice, who by your embodied action have cared for all who came into your life.

ALL: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love surround you this day.

Reader #2: 

To you who know the pain of longing…

Who longed for safety in your body but did not know it. 

Who longed to birth life, but found this was an impossibility.

Who desired to be called mother, but have never known that name.

Who long for the homecoming of a child who has chosen a pathway of pain.

Who ache over the absence of a mother who was or is unable to love you as you are.

Who yearn for the day when you will see your mother again, whether you are separated now by death or a broken relationship.

ALL: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love hold you this day.

Reader #3: 

To you who have lost…

To you who have lost children:

whether before they were able to come into being in our world,

whether your child left this earth too soon,

OR whether the loss is fraught with the ache of absence in the midst of their still being here on earth

ALL: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love comfort you this day.

Reader #4: 

To you…our mothers.

Our aunts

Our neighbors

Our grandmothers

Our teachers

Our leaders

Our healers

Our friends

To you who fight

And nurture

Who love

And pray

To your beauty

To your complexity

To your vulnerability and your power

To your belovedness as ones made in God’s image

In the midst of your pain and brokenness

Longing for your joy and healing and wholeness

ALL: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love be yours this day.

Reader #5: 

To our mother, Eve. To Mary, who brought our Christ into this world.

To the women of our faith. To Sarah and Hagar. To Deborah and Jael, Rebecca and Leah, Ruth and Esther. To Junia and Sophia. To Mary the Mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and Salome. To Miriam. To Phoebe. To the woman at the well, the Syrophynecian woman, and the woman who bled. To the women unnamed both in scripture, in our lives, and in our collective story.

ALL: We see you. We honor you. We give God thanks for your life and legacy.

Reader #6: 

To the Rohingya mother, to the mothers in Russia and in Ukraine, in North Korea, in Palestine and in Israel, in Ethiopia, and in Iran. To the mothers whose children are unjustly harmed, oppressed, imprisoned, or denied air to breathe. To mothers and those who nurture peace and the conditions for flourishing life around the world.

To the mothers whose children will never return from war.

To the mothers who face death to secure their children safe passage and food.

To the immigrant, the widow, the refugee.

To women who have faced impossible decisions and been looked upon with disdain and scorn.

To those who fight for our rights and worlds that honor them.

To those who give their lives trying to make the world better for future generations.

To those who feel alone and unseen.

ALL: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love surround and uphold you this day.

Reader #7: 

And to you, oh God and Mother of us all.

To you, the one who has fashioned all humanity in your image. (Gen 1:27)

To you, the God who bears us, who births us in your love. (I John & Deut. 32:18 & Isaiah 42:14)

To you, the God who teaches us to walk, feeds us, and leads us in kindness. (Hosea 11:3-4)

To you, oh God who protects us with the fierceness of a mama bear. (Hosea 13:8)

To you, the God who cares for us like a mother eagle or hen, you who gather us and spread your wings lest we should fall. (Deut. 32:11-12 & Matthew 23:37 & Luke 13:34)

To you, the God of all comfort. (Isaiah 66:13 & 2 Cor. 1)

To you, Oh God who remembers us as a mother does her nursing child. (Isaiah 49:15 & Psalm 131:2)

To you, the God, who labors to birth more of your justice and love and kin-dom in this  world. (Romans 8:22)

To you, the God, who has looked for us as a woman looks for her lost coin. (Luke 15:8-10)

To you, who rejoices when you find us…and we find you as you whisper to us you have said to us since the beginning of time:

ALL: “Welcome home, beloved.”

Reader #8: 

To you we run, to you we offer our lives and love. To you we give thanks oh Sophia wisdom and Spirit, praying in the vein that Christ, your son, has taught us:


Our Mother, who art in heaven.

Hallowed be your name

Your kingdom come

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one

For thine is the kingdom

And the power

And the glory.

Now and forever.


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