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Thoughts on Mothering Sunday

Here are a few thoughts for tomorrow – Mothering Sunday.

Its the first year I wont have my Mum with me – it felt strange not   finding a card for her and a little gift….

A Gentle Sermon for Mothering Sunday

As you will see, from the order of service, it says that there are to be thoughts on Mothering Sunday from a Mum and a Dad. Sorry that means I’m going first and I’m really going to try to keep to eight  minutes. That would be a change!

I start with a story

An 102 year old lady was asked if she had any worries.

She replied “ No, not now that I have got my son into an Old  People’s home! “

Which is  one way of saying that most parents really don’t ever stop

worrying about their children.

Today is Mothering Sunday – a day which some approach with a sense of gratitude and celebration, and for others it can be a difficult time for all sorts of reasons.

Back in the seventeenth century in this country the tradition of giving young people away in service a holiday on Mid-Lent Sunday enabled them to visit their parents and to worship in the church where they had been baptised.

This annual return visit, marked by gifts on both sides, must have strengthened and renewed family bonds during those centuries when children often left home at a very early age.

Another ancient practice on this mid-lent Sunday was also to visit the Mother Church of the area – maybe the cathedral or minster church from which smaller daughter churches had sprung up – there is written evidence that MS was one of the four Sundays when people from LP had to make the journey to GP, the Minster Church, for worship and to pay over some funding support.

My mother used to recall  as a little girl in the 1920’s  saving up her 1d a week pocket money so that she could buy her mother a bunch of flowers on Mothering Sunday from the  High Street. I’m sure many of us will remember making cards at school in preparation for this day.

So, how best can we use this day in our modern age?

1) It can be a day to give thanks for the church we regularly worship in and find fellowship from.

Mother Church is an interesting image and quite a powerful one for me. Since 1987  the C of E has been provided me with a stipend and since 1992 with a house to live in. It may well be it will provide me with some where to live when I retire and a pension for which I will be very grateful. More profoundly over nearly 25 years it has given me a changing set of people who have been my friends and colleagues along the Christian Way with all the highs and lows that goes from forming friendships and having to say goodbye. The Church has nurtured me and held me in a sense when life has been good and not so good.

My hope in a parish has always to be to be part of a team that creates a church community offering  a safe and caring place, where people find friendship and strength for the journey and consolation in hard times. Where people can grow in faith and love and loved for just how they are. Lots there about the Church being like a nurturing and caring parent – I like the idea of Mother Church and giving thanks for the church we belong to today. One old custom was to go clipping on MS – surrounding the church in a big circle of love. Might be brave and try that later – a sort of wishing our dear which well as shortly major works begin to the fabric of the building.

2) MS can be a day to acknowledge the role that mothers play in the world and in our lives. This needs to be handled with great care.

I know some people who avoid church on MS – for various reasons.  There are women who thoroughly enjoy being a mother, but some who struggle a great deal with the modern pressures of bringing up children. Some across the world who try to bring up theirchildren as best they can in the most desperate of circumstances of poverty. There are women who have lost children, women who may have liked children but found it wasn’t possible. People who might have lost their mother and find it very hard to come to terms with.

If we take a cursory glance at Jesus’ mother Mary we find someone who went through a whole range of emotions – the shock of being told she was going to be the mother of the Messiah, the unusual circumstances surrounding his birth. The angst of loosing him on a visit to Jerusalem for some days – perhaps you  can relate to that if your children have ever gone missing just for a short time.

The disturbing words of Simeon in the temple when Jesus was taken there 40 days after birth. “A sword shall pierce your heart” she was told – a prophesy which came true when Jesus died on the cross – Mary was right there watching this terrible thing occur. But she must have been present too when  excitement filled his group of friends who saw him risen from the dead.  Mary experienced all the highs and lows of parenting – and for me at least its true that you never stop worrying about your children. I choose the picture at the bottom of page one – for me it suns up even now what being a Mum means – being there to catch my kids when things are tough for them – and letting them go as they continue life as fully fledged adults.

3) This instinct to create, to nurture, to offer support and encouragement to one another is not the sole role of mothers – or fathers for that matter. It’s something I believe we share with our loving God who is always beside us day and night. Every time someone brings to birth a new idea, a new piece of art, nurtures a vulnerable person, brings out the best in someone, heals a broken body or mind, cares for nature, cultivates the land, gives listening time to a hurting spirit… I’m sure you could add many things to the list – we are engaging in this basic human instinct to care and nurture which is at the heart of mothering, of bringing to birth and nurturing growth.

In a moment we shall sing “ Jesus love is very wonderful” – the same can be   said of the love of parents for their children and the love of anyone who uses their talents and love to make peoples lives happier and healthier and the world a more caring place.

Now it is my pleasure to announce that all the ladies in church today are going to have a spring primrose – like any children to come up and help give them out – else I shall ask for the youngest person in the church to do that.

April 2, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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