“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility and patience”.
If you had to define a mother, these words from today’s readings convey much of how you would describe her.
I find my mother difficult, she finds me difficult too, but she will be receiving a card in the post today. A card which was not easy to find. There are few things we agree on, but one of them is that it is Mothering Sunday today and not Mothers Day, and finding a card that says that becomes more difficult every year.
I don’t want to belittle the role many birth mothers fulfil , the energy and care they expend day after day, but today is about mothering. Yes many of us will have experienced that through our mothers.
In our reading today from Exodus we hear of a mother who went to great lengths to ensure her son Moses would live, she expressed her love and need to mother with a dangerous and risky act. An act that was extreme and I feel probably very scary for her but an act that gave her a chance to mother him that was almost certainly going to be taken away. An example of extreme mothering.
However mothers do not have sole ownership of mothering. For some of us it has been another figure in our lives, a father, a grandparent, a foster carer, a treasured friend, giving birth to a child does not always lead to a loving mothering relationship. We also remember those who are experiencing the grief and pain of being unable to be mothers today , that they can find the peace of Christ in their hearts at this time.
Take a moment to think who has mothered you…is it another person? Have you had to mother yourself (and if so well done)? We also have another mothering figure to call on, God, he cares for us through our mother church. In the reading from Collosians today we are reminded “Above all clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony” and “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom” All admirable characteristics of mothering and an example of a way we should live our lives together.
Our Gospel today speaks of Jesus making provision for his own mother whilst on the cross, giving her care over to the disciple he loved. This is a poignant reminder that our life on earth is time limited, and mothering relationships on earth are broken. Some of us will be feeling sad as our mothering figures have died . Today is a time to remember them, and also a chance to give thanks for all you received from them in their lifetime.
Later in the service we will be distributing flowers as a thanks to all who mother, if your mother is here then we celebrate all that brings and give flowers with love and gratitude, if the figure who mothers you is here then give flowers with love and gratitude, if the person who mothers you is no longer here accept flowers with thanks and remembrance. The church is surrounded by flowers growing outside, as you leave today please take a moment to notice them, give thanks to God for creation and allow yourselves to be held by your mother church.
Remember the words from Collosians I started with “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility and patience” as Christians we are called to go out and show these qualities, to mother those around us we care about and to accept the care others show us. Let’s go out and do just that.