(Also known as Mothering Sunday)
Mothering Sunday was originally a day on which Christian families would come to worship in their ‘mother church’, typically either the church in which they had been baptised or the main church or cathedral of the area. In the course of time, it has become a day on which motherhood itself is celebrated, but many people also use it as an opportunity to celebrate all who care for us. The American Mother’s Day has a very different origin – you can discover more at:: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day . Other secular celebrations have been added, such as Father’s Day, Siblings’ Day and Grandparents’ Day, a practice which is sometimes accused of commercialisation.
This is a particularly appropriate time for us to remember the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Gospels record that she was not only – obviously! – present at his birth, but also, according to St John’s Gospel, at his death, amongst the women who were present at the crucifixion. The crucified Jesus spoke to his mother and to his disciple John, telling John to care for Mary. (John 19:26-27). In accordance with Jewish purification ritual, Jesus, being a first-born, was presented in the temple at the age of forty days. There a ‘righteous and devout man’ called Simeon saw him and prophesied to his parents that he would be ‘a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to God’s people Israel’. He then went on to say ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ (Luke 2:22-38). This prediction seems to foretell the grief the child’s mother would feel at his crucifixion. Mary was also present at the first miracle performed by her son, turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, and even partly instrumental in it. (John 2:1-11). She was clearly a caring mother!
Loving God, we give you thanks for our mothers and for all who have cared for us, who
have encouraged us and helped us grow, who have forgiven us, and cared for us when
we were unwell, who have supported us when times were hard, who have challenged us,
who have told us about you. Thank you, Lord. Amen.