FORT KNOX, Ky. — The Fort Knox Religious Support Office held its Mother’s Day celebration May 10 on the lawn of Cavalry Chapel on post as congregants watched from the safety of their vehicles.
In what’s become a familiar drive-in service during the COVID-19 pandemic, Soldiers handed out carnations to each mother in attendance, and roses were given to the oldest mother, the newest mother, and the mother with the most children.
Signs directed Soldiers and civilians to adjust their vehicle radios to FM 100.1 to hear the singers, benediction prayer and the message, and worshippers were encouraged to honk in support and agreement throughout the celebration.
In an interview before the service, Chaplain (Maj.) Anthony Woodard, brigade chaplain for 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center and pastor of the Gospel Service at Cavalry Chapel, said this year’s celebration of mothers has drawn considerations that past years didn’t.
“Normally, there would be many people traveling to see their mothers or grandmothers, but with COVID-19, there will be many who won’t be present with their mothers during this Mother’s Day,” Woodard said. “That love can be felt [more keenly] when we can’t get to them.”
He said he suspects there has been a new appreciation for mothers and motherhood, as a result.
“Mothers are some of the hardest working people on Earth, and in most families, they are the chef, the counselor, the housekeeper, the nurse, the chauffer, the wardrobe consultant and the accountant,” Woodard said.
“She’ll do more than most people in a week, and outside circumstances have no bearing on these duties. In good times and bad times, mothers will do these acts of service for the family.
“Hopefully during times like these, those acts of love are more appreciated.”
In his sermon, Woodard said most mothers are their children’s first love.
“For most of us, our mother was the first to show us unconditional love, and the first person we loved,” he said. “The bond formed is powerful.
She’ll always be your mother, and you’ll always be her child; and that connection never goes away.”
Motherhood was important to Christ, said Woodard, and therefore should be as important to Christ’s followers.
“In John, chapter 19: 25-27, Jesus is on the cross dying for the sins of man. He’s doing what he came to Earth to do and in that moment, he paused to make sure that his mother was taken care of,” Woodard said. “He saw the importance of taking care of his mother, and illustrated that in his last act on the cross.”
Woodard went further to say the Bible’s dictate on how mothers should be treated, even those considered dishonorable, has no qualifier but one.
“The only qualification God has about it is: Is she your mother?” Woodard asked. “It’s the only one of the Ten Commandments with a ‘built in’ promise – Honor your father and mother that your days may be long.
“You cannot be willfully wrong with your mother and be right with God.”
Woodard said the message of how to treat mothers should be the same for one’s mother as for one’s children’s mother.
“In Proverbs 18:22, it says, ‘He who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord,’ and that says to me that husbands should remember they’ve been blessed to have that woman as their wife and the mother of their children,” Woodard said. “God doesn’t take that for granted and neither should that husband.
“He should love her, appreciate her and honor her; not just in words, but in action.”