With a peaceful way of doing battle.
In April of this year, 2015, I was enrolled into the Mothers’ Union, a wonderful charitable organisation that provides Christian care for families around the world.
Just in case there is any doubt by readers of my witterings on Entertaining Angels, I’m not a mother and in fact not even female. I am one of a small but growing number of men in the organisation.
A little while before my enrolment, I heard the branch leader at St. Mary’s church, the branch I am now a member of, refer to the Mothers’ Union as the church’s secret weapon. Maybe to some extent this brought out the big-kid in me, because the idea of being part of anything secret appealed. It brought back boyhood memories of playing secret agent games, when Sean Connery was James Bond and the enemy was the Russian KGB.
Mothers’ Union is of course not secret in the true sense, that it deliberately keeps itself out of the limelight, carrying out clandestine operations. It’s more of an open secret, in that it does not seem to be well known outside of church communities. I knew almost nothing about it myself until I became an active Christian.
After rambling on a little, I suppose I should get to the point I really wanted to consider in this post, the Mothers’ Union as a secret weapon. When I first heard the term, it did not greatly concern me but later I began to wonder about the description, particularly “weapon”.
A weapon is designed to hurt, maim or kill someone, or some people. Even when it is used only in defence, it still has no other primary purpose. This is absolutely at odds with the aims, objectives and vision of the Mothers’ Union and so is clearly an inappropriate description. It is a little like some national leaders description of a “war on terror”, where the provocative language does nothing to help in dangerous circumstances. So, not secret weapon then.
How about The Church’s Secret Society? This brings to mind clandestine meetings in dimly lit halls, where greetings are with dodgy handshakes and strange rituals. Well the church might not go in for the dodgy handshakes but it is arguable, especially by outsiders, that it has it’s share of strange rituals. Also, a secret society, or sect within the church might not be such a good idea after some of the more adverse publicity, some of which is actually justified, that the church has received in recent times. So, no secret society either then.
I did also think of secret family, but dismissed that fairly quickly; it seemed to carry some of the same unwelcome overtones as secret society. So no to secret family too, but what does that leave us with as a possibility?
How about Secret Army? It seems to me that it fits the bill quite well. I hope this does not ‘tread on the toes’ of the Salvation Army. I think it unlikely as the Salvation Army is, I suspect, much better known than the Mothers’ Union and all their members are uniformed, so hardly secret at all (unless they have a plain clothes section no one knows about), the MU, is entirely plain clothes.
Although “Army” may also be seen to have some warlike and aggressive characteristics, unlike “weapon” it has many other roles than fighting. A weapon is a tool of the military, not the other way around. The British Army has fought fires, provided medical aid to areas in crisis because of disease.it has helped with relief efforts after disasters and cleared mines in the aftermath of conflict in which it took no part. It has conducted these operations in many places around the world.
The Mothers’ Union operates internationally, just like the army but in more places, currently in 83 countries. It employs local people and partners wherever it operates, just like the army. Its members are united in a common bond, relying on and supporting each other, just like the army. It gives aid nationally and internationally, supporting people affected by crises of many diverse natures, weather human inflicted or natural disaster, just like the army.
Just like the army, Mothers’ Union defends, protects and aids the vulnerable. And as both the first and last resort, when the best form of defence is attack, it advances its position with the only known tactic against which there is no known defence … Prayer.
The Mothers’ Union Prayer
Loving Lord, We thank you for your love so freely given to us
all, We pray for families around the world. Bless the work of
the Mothers’ Union as we seek to share your love. Through
the encouragement, strengthening and support of marriage
and family life.
Empowered by your spirit, may we be united in prayer and
worship, and in love and service reach out as your hands
across the world. In Jesus’ name.