Mothering Sunday


I remember the first time I was left alone with my newborn son. The overwhelming feeling of love accompanied by the fear of caring for this little soul. As I grow older I see that there is a natural reversal of roles and the child becomes the caregiver for the parent. I think this reversal was part of Mary’s relationship with her Son.

She cared for Him as a helpless infant, watching him grow in stature with God and man. She watched as the crowds cheered His entry into Jerusalem, only to see them lift Him upon the cross a few days later. Her heart must have longed to heal His pains, but it was He who looked down with perfect love and said, motioning to John, “Woman, behold thy son!”

As our children grow, we draw great comfort in their concern for us. Their kindnesses forged in the furnace of our earlier devotions. I wanted this painting to show the love the Savior had for His mother and the feeling that every mother can find comfort and safety in His arms.   By Liz Swindle

I found this wonderful painting by Liz Swindle of Jesus giving his Mother Mary  a hug. I love the way Mary is smiling and has her hand placed lovingly on his arm. It inspired my sermon for  Mothering Sunday.

Today is Mothering Sunday and NOT Mothers’ Day….because for us in church today is a day when we celebrate and thank God for our mothers, we celebrate even more the huge army of people who mother us….

Moses received love, care and nurture from not one but three mother figures – and I’m confident that it’s worked that way for most of us.Each one of us needs so much love, care and encouragement…and I know as a mum that though I do my best, my son would have a very raw deal if he relied only on me – but I know that I’ve shared in the real work of mothering with so many others, just as I received that sort of care from many different people besides the loving and loved woman who gave birth to me ,my mum.
Most of you know my mum died a few years ago but I have been so fortunate to have had many surrogate mums who have loved ,cared and encouraged me.
one thing they have all been good at is given me hugs.I like hugs and I am sure you all do !!!
I often need a hug to help me feel better and make me smile… give yourself a hug or if you know the person next to you give them a hug.
So much mothering given and received, – and that’s just how it should be.
Today can be difficult for many people.Some who have never known their birth mothers, or lost them along time ago.Some of us have children who have disappointed us, or whom we have disappointed.Some of us longed for children but found that it didn’t work out…or have suffered the awful pain of losing a much loved child.
Life is often messy, never perfect, – and families are just the same …whatever the greetings card industry might like us to believe
But the message today is that family exists where people are loving towards one another – not just where there are mum, dad and children.
Our gospel reading shows us how that sort of family can be created…as Jesus asks his mother to look after his best friend, and that friend to look after his mother.
He knows that he won’t be there to care for either of them but wants the best for both of them…so here, even while he’s telling John that Mary is now HIS mum, and Mary that John is to be her son, it’s mostly Jesus that does the mothering.
You see, you really don’t have to be a woman, let alone a MOTHER, to share in that important work
It’s something we can all do…
Jesus brings a new family to birth through his loving care and the family he establishes is the family that’s here today…the Church.
In this family, we can and should share in the work of mothering…
That is what we celebrate today.
Mothering Sunday is about ALL those who mother us, women, men and children – those who care for us, who teach us and help us to grow. We go on needing people like that whether we’re 5 or 50 so let’s ask God to help us to share his work of mothering, of loving and caring for one another and let’s make our church a true family where all are welcome.