Sermon 10th March 2024 - Mothering Sunday

We’ve come here this morning to say thank you. Thank you to our mothers for all that they are and all that they do for us.

And for some of us we have come here to remember. To remember our mothers who are no longer here to say thank you to – but we remember their words, their actions and the way in which they loved us.

As I was remembering my mother this week, who died nearly 6 years ago, I was trying to recall any pearls of wisdom, any words of advice that she left me with. But actually what I remember most was the way she made me feel. Loved, secure, safe and valued. Which made me feel brave and indestructible in the world.

Unconditional love can make you feel that way. Unconditional love is the greatest gift we can give to each other and the greatest gift that God gives each one of us.

And loving never stops.

A 102 year old lady was asked if she had any worries. Her reply, ‘No not now I have got my youngest son in an old people’s home’. I guess parents never stop worrying about their children. However, sometimes it’s the children that worry about their parents and the things they do.

As a 10 year old once said: When your mum is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair!’

And a 13 year old also learnt one of life’s lessons: ‘When you get bad marks at school, show it to your Mum when she’s on the phone’

Today is ‘Mothering Sunday’ and our traditional festival dates back to the 16th century, when there were very few holidays, and children as young as 10 were at work away from home. They would be given the day off on this mid-Lent Sunday to visit their mothers and family. Girls who were ‘in service’ would bake a cake to show their mothers their new skills – a ‘Simnel Cake’. What’s more, as they walked home across the country, they would gather violets and other wild flowers to give to their mums as a gift, and also to take to church. Later in our service we too will come and gather these beautiful posies to give to our mothers.

Today has become a day to give thanks for the care of the Church, and to reflect on God’s loving nature. It is also a time to express thanks to our mothers, and celebrate motherhood. It’s natural for us to remember the happy times of childhood and those happy memories of our parents.

For those of us who are parents I wonder if we can remember wondering, what our child would grow up to be and do. That little bundle of potential lying in our arms. Would those temper tantrums serve little Johnny well in the board room? Does the fact he spends hours taking apart, and sometimes putting back together, his toy car mean he’s going to be an engineer? When our middle child tries to appease the ferocious arguments between her siblings mean she’s going to get a job in the United Nations? Who knows what the future holds?!

As time goes by we discover that being a parent is a mixture of highs and lows, joys and sorrows.

Surely whenever anyone truly loves, they experience moments of pure joy, and times of pain and heartache.

Human relationships are never easy and being a mother, or father, is never simple. To love is hard work.

It means making ourselves vulnerable in self-giving – emotionally sharing in the lives of others but it also the most rewarding thing we do.

I wonder if God feels this too? He loves us as a Father and a Mother – hiding us under his wing, protecting us, sheltering us – loving us through thick and thin. So as we come together to give thanks for Mothers and those that have nurtured as, let us also give thanks to God – for his unconditional love and faithfulness to us all.

Let us pray Heavenly Father we bring to you in our prayers today all whom we love, our family, our friends and our neighbours. Help us all to live so that we may strengthen and enrich the life of the family, help us to build with you the kind of family which welcomes the stranger, the lonely and the needy. On this special day we remember that all through our lives we have reason to be thankful for our mothers and care givers. We thank you heavenly father for all they have done for us and pray that the love they show for us may be reflected in the way that we show our love for others and in the way we each strive to live our lives according to your will. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer Father God, we thank you for our children here in this parish. It is a tough world to navigate so we ask for your help and guidance as we try and raise them the best we can. Help us love, protect and steer them in accordance with your will so they can live lives to the full and flourish and thrive. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
Heavenly Father we remember that whilst we celebrate Mothers Day today there are those who do not feel happy, those who are sick, those who are sad, lonely, or away from their families, those families where there is conflict, Father we place each of them in your gentle hands that they may know the comfort, reconciliation and peace which your love brings. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer Merciful father Accept these prayers for the sake of you son our Saviour Jesus Christ

Rev’d Kia Pakenham / 10th March 2024

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