Dear Christ Church family (a message from Jane and Hazel),

In normal times (and these are certainly not normal times), we would be standing in front of you, leading Sunday Worship for Mothering Sunday along the following lines.  As Lay Worship Leaders, we use ready-made material provided by bodies such as the Diocese of Lincoln as the basis for our homilies.  In planning worship, we try to ‘tweak’ the homilies to make them more relevant and personal to you, the congregation, and to choose hymns whose message resonates with the readings, the homily, and any other prevailing circumstances.

We shall all miss seeing each other in church on Sunday, miss our time of fellowship and praise, but we hope that you will all know just how much you are loved by the members of the church family, including Leisa, and all those who lead worship and intercessions Sunday by Sunday.

Sunday 22nd March 2020         Mothering Sunday Morning Worship

Opening hymn:  721 Love divine all loves excelling *

John 19:25-27

25 Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27 Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Other Readings:           1 Sam 1:20-28;  Ps 34:11-20;  Col 3:12-17

HOMILY

You don’t need to be a mother to be motherly.

Our Gospel today is perhaps not what you would expect on a flowery day such as Mother’s Day, for it is not the mother who is mothering. Here is Jesus, very close to his last minute alive on earth, actually on the cross, thinking of his mother and making arrangements for her to be cared for when he is gone, by asking his best friend John to look after her. So here is Jesus, being motherly.

The Old Testament reading from Samuel is perhaps more usual for us. It shows Samuel’s mother wanting him so much that she promises to give him to God in return. When Samuel was old enough, she took him to God’s temple as she promised and Samuel grew up there to become a holy man who chose Israel’s famous king David.

What do these two have in common? The answer is in the New Testament reading where Paul says ‘Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.’

Love is the key because God in his tenderness is our example for all our lives.

The readings indeed show the depth of love that is possible between a mother and her child. Those of us who were, and are, lucky enough to experience this with our own mothers are fortunate people indeed, for the warmth and acceptance that can flow between a mother and her child is a golden light to our lives. God rejoices in these relationships, shown in its essence in the love of Jesus for his mother in our Gospel today.

Some of us though are not so initially fortunate. There are many who have not had this wonderful relationship from the beginning, and perhaps some also who have grown apart from their family and feel that they are not understood. A dear member of our congregation, sadly no longer with us, told me (Jane) once that she had totally and deliberately blotted out memories of the first 20 years of her life.  She had managed to be so successful in this blotting out that all she could remember was just how awful her home and personal life had been – no details just the sensation of awfulness.  She became a Christian in her early twenties and lived a fulfilled, happy and long life and particularly valued her place in the loving supportive environment of Christ Church.  In return, Kathleen gave so much loving and nurturing to the people of this church family. For those people with less positive experiences of family life, God rejoices in them also and shows us in Jesus that a mother’s love, in essence, does not have to come from a biological mother but flows out of the love of God through many other people in our world.

We can all have this loving, warm relationship with God, and Jesus shows us this clearly. We are loved no matter what, through thick and thin, in joy and in sorrow. Everyone has a mother in God. Some of us have this in a literal sense, for our mothers have died and gone to heaven. That can be a real comfort to us, even though we miss them for now. But for all of us, the love we seek is here on earth too, in friends, family and often in people who need our help. Even little children can care for others in this warm, accepting way, and we can tenderly care for the earth and its creatures also.

These are such difficult times for the whole world and we are all having to come to terms with major changes in our daily lives.  Whilst a reassuring hug or close contact is no longer an option, we can still show our love, God’s love, in so many ways.  We can talk to others on the telephone; people we only normally chat to on a Sunday would, I am sure, welcome a call on any day of the week.  We can pray, oh how we need to pray, for all our dear friends stuck at home, for all those community organisations lining up to help in any way they can, for Leisa and Colin ministering to us all, for healthcare professionals and for our own families. May God bless you all at this difficult time and may you feel his loving, motherly care all around you.

Thanks be to God.

Hymn 678  In Christ alone my hope is found  * 

Conversation Questions

  1. Who do you care for in a way that is ‘motherly’?
  2. Who cares for you in this tender, warm way?
  3. Is there anything else from the passage not already discussed that speaks to you? What is it?
  4. What will you do this week in your Monday-to-Saturday ministry in response to what you have heard today? #everydayfaith

Prayer
Spend some time in prayer, responding to what you have heard today and listening to what God might be saying to you.

Collect of the day
God of love,

passionate and strong,

tender and careful:

watch over us and hold us

all the days of our life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Closing hymn:  584  All my hope on God is founded  *

 

* If you don’t have a hymn book at home, you can find the words to all these hymns, and listen to them being sung by going to www.youtube.com and type in the first line of the hymn.

Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is incorporated in this service paper, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council, 2000. Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version (Anglicised) copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.