I write this article in memory of my Christian grandmothers, Martha Magdalene Eury 1884-1970; Sarah J. Baysinger Pyles 1892-1994; and my mom, Frances Claire Eury Pyle 1930-2006. The Bible tells us to honor our father and mother. We think of Anna Jarvis, her home near Grafton, and the first celebration of Mother's Day in that same town. Father's Day and Grandparent's Day have roots in West Virginia, too.
My grandmother, Martha Magdalene Eury, was from Memel (Territory) (East) Prussia, Germany, now called Lithuania. She came through immigration at Ellis Island in 1903, became a governess to a wealthy family in New York and accurately traced her ancestry to the Romanov Russian dynasty. Many fled the political persecution and changed their name to Ro'man. After leaving New York, at age 42, she wed my grandfather, W.H. Eury, age 38, both previously unmarried.
Grandma was a stern, but loving, disciplinarian. She was my first piano teacher. Some of her authoritative quotes were, "I'll fix your business;" and "You dumbbell, you!" Once, when I didn't feel like going to the store, she said, "Now listen here mister, you are going to the store for me, see, and you are going now!" Yes, I obeyed and went to the store.
My grandmother, Sarah J. Pyles, was a country farm housewife, living in Core, W.Va. She raised four children, churned butter, baked pies, made homemade breads, milked cows, grew gardens, tended to chickens, gathered eggs, canned tenderloin pork, canned veggies and could cook great country meals. After Grandpa Ray passed, she became eccentrically comical. Don't ever look at her in church if singers were bellowing loudly. If she caught your eye, she would start laughing, shaking her head and adjusting her hearing aid while mumbling, "Oh that's too loud!"
My mother, Frances Claire Pyle, married my father, Evangelist George Washington Pyle, in October 1950.
"Yours truly," came along in August 1952. Mom was a saved, sanctified, Holy Ghost-filled Christian and a Godly influence to my sister and I. Born on grandmom's 46th birthday, mom, later as a teen, studied at Peabody (prep school) Conservatory in Baltimore and became a tremendous pianist, accordionist and powerful high-alto vocalist. She passed in November 2006, just two months before we accepted the pastorate at Elkins COGOP.
Brain cancer claimed mom's earthly life. At her funeral, my niece, by mom's wish, produced a PowerPoint color slide, depicting her early years living with grandma and grandpa Eury on a Carroll County, Maryland, log cabin farm. As a child, mother would occasionally sneak out of the cabin into the nearby woods. The family had two German shepherd dogs, who would follow mom and stand in front of the woods to alert my grandparents of her whereabouts.
I love and miss them all! My great friend, Evangelist Phil Patchett, is an award-winning poet. He has authored a few poems about his mother, who now is with the Lord, including this title that we'll share, "The missing place at the table."
"There's a missing place at the table now.
"Things are different, now.
"In a vision, I see her standing at the stove, cooking a home-cooked meal, as I behold such a love, I did feel.
"As the vision continues, I saw the family, gathering in, each talking about what they've been doing, and where they had been.
"But the vision, brought a tear, Mother's place at the table, did disappear. She was there no longer to fill it. But then I recalled, another supper scene, it will be the most beautiful, 'eye' has ever seen. Mother stands by an empty place at the table. The empty place, was mine.
"Mother, I will fill that empty space, in time. What music, will fill the air, and mother, you, will be there!"
We read of Eve, the mother of all living, of Rachel's weeping love for her children, of Hannah's great sacrifice, giving Samuel her first born to God, and of Timothy's upbringing with grandmother Lois and mother Eunice.
Most of all we remember Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and especially Mary of Nazareth, the earthly prophesied Virgin mother of Jesus Christ.
Our titled topic is found in John 19:26-27.
"When Jesus therefore saw his mother (from his cross), and the disciple standing by (John, son of Mary's sister Salome and father Zebedee), whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, 'Woman' behold thy son. Then saith he to the disciple (John, also the writer of this gospel), Behold thy mother. And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."
John was Jesus' first cousin, and Mary's nephew. Joseph, her husband, had died.
Paul mentions about biological children and "nephews" keeping charge of widows especially, under the age of 60, "Honor widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or "nephews," let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God," First Timothy 5:3-4.
Mary, though, a virgin and sexually pure, wasn't born without sin.
"All (except Christ) have sinned and come short of the glory of God." David remarks about his creation as being "shapen in iniquity, and in sin did his mother conceive him."
As John the Baptist declared, "I must decrease, He (Christ) must increase." Mary, though, "highly favored among women," sang, "My soul doth magnify the Lord." She, too, realized her role would diminish and give way to Christ's glorification. At 12 years old, Jesus proclaims to his mother, Mary, and father, Joseph, "I must be about my Father's (God's) business." He was humanly subject to them and returned in obedience. Throughout Christ's earthly life and ministry of 33 1/2 years, Mary would continue to "ponder many things in her heart."
In Matthew, Chapter 12, Jesus asks, "And who is my mother? And who is my brethren?" "They are whomsoever that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Mary remained focused on her temporary and earthly role. Jesus frequently used the term "woman" in reference to Mary.
John 2:1-5; "And the third day was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, they have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, 'Woman,' what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever 'HE' saith unto you, do it."
She realized we're "all" in subjection to Christ's eternal authority.
"For there are (only) 'three' that bear record in heaven, The Father (Almighty God Jehovah), the Word (Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son), and the Holy Ghost: And these three are one."
As Christ carried his cross through the "way of suffering," or the described "Via Dolarosa," the thought of "everyone's" redemption was on his mind. As Simon of Cyrene assisted Christ, Jesus was aware of Mary's presence. However, as many "orthodox, religiously influenced" modern movies portray "eye contact," and constant communication between Mary and Christ, and with many women following him there, we must consider the word of God in Luke 23:28.
"But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children." (see verses 29-31).
Mary is mentioned in NT "finality" in the upper room where she's among 120 disciples and followers of Christ, whom would receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost.
Looking at Acts 1:14, "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
Our earthly moms always should be considered the "queen" of our families. However, we must understand God's rejection of the Babylonian mythological, deified Mother/Child Dogma and confusing title that have resurfaced continually throughout mankinds' biblical history, "Queen of Heaven."
Jeremiah prophesies in chapter 44:16-18, "As for the word thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee.
"But we will certainly do whatever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the 'queen of heaven,' and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then we had plenty of victuals, and were well and saw no evil.
"But since we 'left off' to burn incense to the 'queen of heaven,' and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine," (see verses 19-27; Revelation chapters 17-18, 18:7).