On Sunday March 15th I led worship at Pannal Chapel for Mothering Sunday. The service began with a Lenten reading at the cross. Our opening hymn was ‘Now thank we all our God.’ I led the opening prayers giving thanks for our nurturing family and the care and forgiveness of our nurturing Father and Mother God; our caring parent. I read the reading of Simeon’s prophecy to Mary, Luke 2v33-35, which foretold of the pain Mary would feel as a mother when Jesus suffered. I told a story of a girl who needed money to buy a present for her grandmother’s special birthday but had spent it all and how she resolved to be extra helpful to her mother during the week. On the Friday she presented her bill for her chores and received the desired money. Her mother’s reply however included a list of all she had done for her 11 year old daughter but for which she made no charge!! It reminded us of how much our mothers do for us. My mother only wanted me to wash up so I could get on with my studying even though I was prepared to do more. She always supported me through my studies. I remembered those who had not been able to have children and those whose home life had not been so good, and those who like me lost their mothers too soon. We have so much to be grateful for. It is a privilege to be a mother and such a challenge to love and nurture our children and let them grow into who they are called to be. I am very fortunate to have two lovely daughters who are also my dear friends.
We sang ‘He’s got the whole world in his hand’ before we heard the dramatised reading based on Exodus 2v1-10 the birth of Moses and 2 Corinthians 1v3-7. We then sang ‘Through all the changing scenes of life’ before the sermon. I explained how Mothering Sunday was the day people in service, working in factories, or on farms were allowed home to visit their parents and go to church to thank God. We also thought about the pain we go through as we see our children go through difficulties. We also remembered the struggles of marginalised women in Nepal who were helped by the Methodist Charity, ‘Allwecan’ to learn how to stand up for their rights, support their families through education through learning how to support each other and form self help groups.
We looked at the difficulties the Hebrew mother of Moses had to ensure he was able to grow up, after all Hebrew boys were to be killed; she was able to care for him until he was weaned and then Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up in the royal court; fitting him for his role as negotiator with Pharaoh later in life. His mother knew that Moses was a special child and with her daughter’s help she found a way to protect him.
Paul had a stormy relationship with the Corinthians. He had written letters and his co-workers visited them and finally he had been reconciled with them. He saw himself as their spiritual parent as he cared deeply for the new Christians whom he had as it were given birth to, and nurtured in Christ. He had suffered for them but not to the extent that Jesus had suffered through his death and resurrection for them.
Following the sermon we sang two choruses, ‘Give thanks with a grateful heart’ and ‘Let there be loved shared among us.’ I led the prayers of intercessions before the service concluded when we sang ‘Love divine all loves excelling.’ It was a welcoming congregation.
As it was Mothering Sunday my daughters came over to go out with me for lunch. Unfortunately my beloved was still not feeling fully recovered from his infection and did not come with us. Beth bought me a number of lovely gifts including a lovely bunch of carnations, a mother’s day balloon and a hanging plaque and card. Cathy treated me to a hanging plaque, card and took us out for a delicious lunch at the Table Table Restaurant. We had a lovely time spending quality time together. I am very spoilt by my two lovely daughters.