The fourth Sunday of Lent is always Mothering Sunday or Refreshment Sunday. A day of respite from the disciplines of Lent. It is a day for celebrating all Mothers and giving thanks for their love. Mothering Sunday has been around for a very long time, hundreds of years ago it was a day for honouring the Mother Church and people went to a special service at The Mother Church, which for our diocese is St Asaph Cathedral, or they returned to the Church where they had been baptised. The idea of giving flowers on Mothering Sunday comes from the tradition of bringing flowers to decorate the Mother Church. Those returning to their church on this day would gather the flowers on the way. The flowers would be displayed in the church, blessed and then distributed amongst the congregation. In later times Mothering Sunday became a day for young people who were away from home working as servants to have a day off and go home and visit their mother, often taking a gift of simnel cake.
The story of the baby hidden in the bulrushes by his mother, protected by his sister and then discovered by a real Princess is a story much loved by us all. It appears to be a story with a happy ending and yet it has far reaching consequences that form part of God’s plan. It is a story of defying those who tried to destroy God’s people. We have to remember the soldiers were looking for all new-born baby boys in order to kill them, how terrifying that must have been for every new Mother. . As they searched day after day every tiny sound that Moses made would have caused his mother’s heart to miss a beat as she sought to keep him hidden, yet she risked everything in order to save her son. It is a story of a brave mother’s love. There was such love within her that it caused her to take great risks in order that her son may live. We know that Moses went on to become one the Patriarchs of the Jewish faith but his mother knew nothing of God’s plan, she simply did what she did out of love.
To love and nurture our children is a great gift. Anyone who has welcomed a tiny baby into the family, a child, grandchild, niece or nephew will know the joy that they bring. All babies are a beautiful witness to God’s creating love, but in the midst of it all there is still the hard work, the worry, the sacrifices, yet so willingly given for love of a child. There is a quote that says ‘the joy of Motherhood is when all the children are finally asleep in bed.’
Whether you are a Mother, Grandmother, Godmother or someone who shares in the care of children, Happy Mother's Day.
A prayer for Mothering Sunday
Loving God, your son Jesus was born into the earthly family of Mary and Joseph: bless all parents and all who care for children. Help us to show your love in our homes that they may be places of love, security and truth. Amen
With Every Blessing….Val