Mothering Sunday

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Mothering Sunday Colossians 3: 12 – 17 Luke 2: 33 - 35

Today is Mothering Sunday; a time when in centuries past it was considered important for people to return to their home church or Mother church – the main church or cathedral in the area. To be back in that place of community that they had grown up in provided an opportunity to be reunited with other family members and so as a way of showing thanks flowers would be picked in the country lanes along the journey and taken to church or given to their mother as a small gift.

In these strange times that we find ourselves now living many of us are being advised to return to our homes if we are on holiday; many are now having to work from home in order to help maintain the social distancing that we are all asked to do in order to minimise the potential for spreading the coronavirus; and of course many are having to isolate themselves at home in order to protect both themselves and others. We might not be able to gather in our main church but we are gathered as virtual church and we give thanks for the technology that enables us to do this so easily.

We have the opportunity this morning to reflect on what it means to draw together as a family in the widest sense, serving one another and giving thanks for each other. Our reading from Colossians is taken from Paul’s guidelines for the way to live out our lives knowing that we are God’s people, knowing that we are to be holy people and knowing too that we are loved and cherished. The passage speaks so eloquently of what is required of us that is hard to imagine why we don’t naturally fall into those ways of living with one another. Yet so often we stumble and fall short. So too, mothers often stumble and fall short of expectations and desires and so for some today thinking of their own mother or even perhaps the way that they themselves are as a mother brings an element of distress. Yet God knows what the comfort of a mother can be like and Isaiah the prophet wrote “As a mother comforts a child so will I comfort you, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66.13) No matter what the relationship we have had with our own mother, no matter the way we parent our own children we know that God reaches out to each of us bringing the comfort and support we all long to have.

As we look through this passage we begin to see that responsibility lies with every one of us to live as the family of God, taking responsibility both for our own conduct towards others and the way we respond to others’ conduct. In these unprecedented times we need more than ever to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It is an instruction to us as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, to do this and yet we still have a choice whether to do so, don’t we? As we continue to give to the Foodbanks, check on our neighbours’ wellbeing and pray for those on the frontline of bringing this under control we are living out the values that are at the heart of our faith. God invites us to pick up the mantle of Christ but does not compel us to do so because we are always free within the love of God to make our own decisions. “Clothe yourselves” writes Paul indicating that we make a deliberate and decisive choice just as we do when we select clothes from our wardrobe. In the days and weeks ahead let’s choose wisely for the sake of others and show others the hope we find in trusting God. This evening let’s join with others as we follow the Archbishop’s call to light a candle at 7 p.m. and put it on display in our windows as we pray as one body united by our faith.

As I finish I use the words of Paul “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”