The 4th Sunday in Lent is when the UK traditionally celebrates Mothering Sunday. It is a day to give thanks for the wonderful mothering gifts that God provides to the world and especially for the gifts to protect, tend, cherish and nurture other people, whether they be young or old, friend or family, related to us or not. In particular at this time, we celebrate our Mother Church and give thanks for the faith in Christ that was handed on to us.
Let us pray: God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself: strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and in sorrow we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal. Amen
Readings: Exodus 2.1-10 or 1 Samuel 1.20-28; Psalm 34.11-20 or Psalm 127.1-4; 2 Corinthians 1.3-7 or Colossians 3.12-17; Luke 2.33-35 or John 19.25-27
A Word from Lucy: As I prepared, I saw and was inspired by the rich source of readings we have and was unable to choose between them because of the issues they brought to mind. In Exodus we hear about the infant Moses being hidden in a basket in the river. This was done by his sister who hoped that he would be found by Pharoah’s daughter. Moses was not only found but also temporarily returned to his mother. Moses was nursed and reared until he was old enough to join the royal court and be raised in Pharoah’s household away from his family. In Samuel, we hear about the fulfilment of a promise made by Hannah. For she kept her promise by taking her young son to the House of the Lord and handing him over to the care of Eli so Samuel could lead a life dedicated to the service of God. Many centuries later, Luke recalls that when Jesus was taken as a babe in arms to the temples, Mary was forewarned by Simeon that her son had a destiny to fulfil and her soul would be pierced by a sword. This destiny for Jesus is revealed in the gospel of John and shows the piercing of Mary’s soul as she maintains her vigil whilst her son hangs dying on a cross. For me, these three accounts show three brave women with the courage to bear the agony of giving up their sons so that God’s plans and purposes could be fulfilled. I cannot imagine what this was like for them but I do trust that, as written in the letter to the Corinthians, God would have been with them helping them to bear their suffering; and, as Godly women, I hope they had the sort of confidence in God described in Psalm 34 that says, if we listen to God, God will take care of and bless us. For without God, as it says in Psalm 127, our lives would be pointless and especially so when we suffer. SILENCE then a prayer: God of love, passionate and strong, tender and caring: we pray you will watch over us and hold us all the days of our lives. Amen
Let us pray: Loving God, as a mother feeds her children at the breast you feed us with the food and drink of eternal life: help us who have tasted your goodness to grow in grace within the household of faith. Amen