Mothering Sunday

A sermon for the fourth Sunday in Lent by Father Clive.

On Sunday we think of our mothers, and that does not just mean the children, but all who have mothers with them, or have memories of their mothers. For although some of us have lost our mothers our memories are still here and they are not forgotten.

Nearly everyone has wonderful memories of growing up with mother virtually taking charge, although today I am pleased to say that the menfolk in a relationship are more than likely to do more in the home than they did while I was growing up. And that is as it should be because life is a partnership of work, home and leisure.

I have wonderful memories of my mother who seemed to be able to do anything. She worked at Hawkers in Kingston, did 90% of the shopping, all the cooking as well as decorating the home (with Dad’s help) and of course maintaining a wonderful garden. Dad worked at the Times on nightshift so days off were usually taken going out in the car into the countryside.

Now all of you will have present or past memories of Mum and on Sunday we give thanks for all that they do for us as we grow and even continue to do well into adulthood and in the memories beyond.

Jesus had a mother and she must have experienced the same joys and worries that all mothers have during the time that their children live.
I often wonder what she made of Simeon’s words when Jesus was presented in the temple:

‘and sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart’ (Luke 2:35).

How could she forget those words. And yet through his childhood and growth she was there for him even as he suffered on the cross (see John 19:25 then on to verse 27).

Mary the Mother of Our Lord has received adoration, prayer and thanks by many Christians throughout the ages. Many miracles have been attributed to her.

Her life with all its joys perhaps, but certainly tragedy, in many respects mirrors how our mothers have followed our lives. Being there in times of joy, times of leaving home, times of trouble, and in some cases times when a child dies before her, and at that point we can imagine the feelings of Mary the Mother of Jesus.

So all of us will give thanks for our mothers, and the mothers of all, where they nurture, treasure, instruct and keep us. And those memories will never fail and will be renewed in the afterlife that we have been promised.

But there is another mother who we should realise does the same when our faith is challenged, and that is Mother Church. A community of faith that nurtures, treasures, instructs and keeps us in our lives from acceptance to eternity. And so today we also thank the Church and all that our faith gives us.

BUT chiefly just on Sunday our earthly mothers get the attention they deserve, and we buy presents, send cards and celebrate all that they are to us, and indeed all that they have been in times past. Perhaps for older members of our family of Saint James who have lost ‘Mum’, a lighted candle would be a reminder to burn from sunset to bed.

And we should also thank God for the work of the Mother’s Union, and especially our branch at Saint James, for all that they do to maintain the
values and Christian ethos of Motherhood in today’s rather fractured society. This year is their own 40th Anniversary.

So I hope you will all give thanks in your own way to your mother, the Church and to the Mother’s Union.

Father Clive