A Shorter Communion Service for Mothering Sunday

 

HYMN - For Mary, mother of the Lord  NEH161 - St Botolph 

1. For Mary, Mother of the Lord
God's holy name be praised,
Who first the Son of God adored
As on her child she gazed.

2. The angel Gabriel brought the word
She should Christ's mother be;
Our Lady, handmaid of the Lord,
Made answer willingly.

3. The heavenly call she thus obeyed,
And so God's will was done;
The second Eve love's answer made
Which our redemption won.

4. She gave her body for God's shrine,
Her heart to piercing pain,
And knew the cost of love divine
When Jesus Christ was slain.

5. Dear Mary, from your lowliness
And home in Galilee,
There comes a joy and holiness
To every family.

6. Hail, Mary, you are full of grace,
Above all women blest;
Blest in your Son, whom your embrace
In birth and death confessed.

PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen

PRAYERS OF PENITENCE
God of the spirit of kindness, in the glory of earth 

and sea and stars, of colour and shade and shape, 

in the patterns of humour and tenderness and touch, 

we celebrate your generosity. 

Forgive us when we forget the gift in our every breath, 

the care that sustains our every moment, 

that grace that can transform our every day,

forgive our careless forgetfulness. 

Set us free from the prison of grudging hearts, 

mean desires, resentful spirits, 

give us the courage to act with justice and generosity, 

and draw us into love that does not calculate or keep scores. 

May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen

THE COLLECT

God of compassion,
whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and in sorrow
we may know the power of your presence

   to bind together and to heal;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.  Amen


FIRST READING - Colossians 3.12-17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


HYMN - God is love - his the care  H&S 36 - Personent Hodie

1. God is love: his the care, 
tending each, everywhere.
God is love, all is there!
Jesus came to show him, 
that we all might know him!

Sing aloud, loud, loud!
Sing aloud, loud, loud!
God is good! God is truth!
God is beauty! Praise him!

2. None can see God above; 
we can share life and love;
thus we may Godward move,
seek him in creation,
holding every nation.
Chorus

3. Jesus lived on the earth,
hope and life brought to birth
and affirmed human worth,
for he came to save us
by the truth he gave us.
Chorus

4. To our Lord praise we sing,
hope and life, friend and King,
coming down, love to bring, 
pattern for our duty,
showing God in beauty.

Chorus

GOSPEL - John 19.25-27

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

SERMON

Today is Mothering Sunday, please note, it is not Mother’s Day, that is a day for people to celebrate their mother, it began in America after a one woman campaign by a lady called Anna Jarvis. It was declared a holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, is is always the 2nd Sunday of May. Anna Wilson was so disgusted at the commercialisation of her idea that she regretted starting the whole thing.

Only Ireland, the UK and Nigeria celebrate Mothering Sunday on the 4th Sunday of Lent. It comes from the Introit for the day ‘Laetare Hierusalem’ - 

“Rejoice Jerusalem, Rejoice ye with Jerusalem; and be ye glad for her, all ye that delight in her: exult and sing for joy with her, all ye that in sadness mourn for her; that ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations”

This lead into Psalm 122 ‘I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the house of the Lord.’ 

From those cues, this Sunday became a time for people to return home, perhaps to visit their ‘mother church’, but also their own mothers. A break from Lenten abstinence, it was a day of celebration.

But the term ‘mothering’ is important because it indicates that the day is about caring for others. Everyone can mother - only some us have the privilege and pain of becoming a mother.

Our gospel reading is a case in point - it is John’s unique vignette of Jesus asking his best friend to take care of his mother, and vice versa. They were to care for one another. Blood relationship is not the only link that can join people, it may not even be the strongest - the desire to care for someone is surely the true qualification for mothering.

The gospel for the day was traditionally the feeding of the 5,000. John’s account in which we hear that is was a child, who gave the food he was carrying to the disciples to give to Jesus - it was probably his lunch, packed by his thoughtful mother. His sacrifice enabled everyone else to eat. It is all highly symbolic, and a powerful analogy of how one small gift can be multiplied by the power of simple grace. It is said that the measure of the size of a gift is how much the giver has left, this child had nothing left, nothing was held back. 

It is a long way from Mark’s account of the feeding as an encouragement to the disciples to provide for the people, as in the old story of the prophet Elisha And it was in stark contrast to the uncaring Jerusalem political and religious elite.  But John’s version serves this day well, where up and down the land children are attempting to provide breakfast-in-bed for their mothers, with varying degrees of success!

The reading from Colossians is a wonderfully well crafted piece of Pauline theology. It sums up his teaching on how to live a happy, fulfilled, and above all, Christian, life. The previous verses do the work, they talk of stripping off the old ways as in taking off an old set of clothes, with the accumulated dirt and grime that went with them, and putting on the new self, with its new characteristics. The image of a candidate for baptism may be in Paul’s mind, stripping off the old nature with those old clothes and putting on a new mind and new way of life with the white fresh clothes of the newly baptised. 

In our passage the new characteristics tell us what the Christian life should be like - they make demands that cannot be avoided. There are 5 virtues listed of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, balancing the 5 vices of anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language, previously condemned to be stripped away. These virtues elsewhere are attributed to God or to Jesus - they are certainly Christlike. Added to these, and given its own complete phrase, is forgiveness. And what holds them all together is simply given as agape - love.  And the result of all this is peace, the peace of Christ, which we do cause to happen, but let happen - in other words, we are not get in the way of it - ‘let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in the one body’. This peace is part of our calling to unity.

In the midst of these wonderful words relating to behaviour come words about worship, teaching, admonition and singing. The Christian community is to be distinguished not only by the quality of its life in the world but also by its regular worship, not only by specially loving relationships but also by its vocal worship of God.  Being thankful is mentioned three times in this short passage; gratitude is to be a part of the distinctive life that sets the Christian community apart from the world. 

Paul concludes that the intention behind everything, all of the above, must and can only be the Name of Jesus - simply put, what Jesus would want us to do and to be. This is not self-improvement for its own sake, this is living as Jesus taught - in the kingdom of God which can be now and will be to come.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH 

Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried; he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles: this we have received,
and this we believe.  Amen.
1 Corinthians 15.3-7

INTERCESSIONS - Kristin Tridimas

Dear God,   As we celebrate Mothering Sunday, we remember all mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers; those who are with us and those who have departed.  We give thanks to all carers and those who stand in lieu of a mother; to nurses, doctors, teachers, nursery staff and many more.  We remember all parents in split, extended and joined-up families and give thanks for their love and support.  This year, once again, many families cannot be together.  We pray that with the continuation of the vaccination programme, families that have been apart will soon be able to see each other again.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give thanks for our children, now back in school, and pray that their education may never be interrupted like this again.  Thank you for our teachers and all the support staff and we pray for the health and wellbeing of both the staff and the children in their care, now and into the future.  We are lucky to live in an area where families are relatively well-off.  Let us not forget those in more deprived areas of the country and children who live in areas of the world where there is war, famine, political or religious turmoil and where a child’s education is a precious resource.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

As we reach the anniversary of the first lockdown, we remember a year where there have been many deaths.  We pray for all those who have died and those left behind to mourn, especially anyone known to us personally.  May they go in peace and tranquility towards your light.  Let us remember and care for all those who are suffering, whether in body, mind or spirit.  This year has taken its physical toll but it has also seen an increase in loneliness, depression and mental health problems.  Help those who are suffering get relief; those who are lonely, find friendship and those who need to talk, be listened to.  Help us to heed Jesus’s message and lend a helping hand, a listening ear and always be kind to neighbours and strangers.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, as we continue our journey through Lent and towards the light of Easter, let us give thanks that we will be able to worship in our church buildings once again, albeit in a safe and distanced way.  We give thanks to William for keeping us going throughout lockdown with his online services, and to all those who have helped prepare and deliver these services and helped to get them to those who do not have access to the Internet.  We pray for our worshipping communities as we come back together and pray also for the wider communities to whom we belong.  Thank you for all their efforts during the pandemic; the collections for the hospital, prison and food banks and all the other good work that has gone on.  

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the hope of continuing Your work and in the anticipation of celebrating the Resurrection, let us go forward into a new week with love, faith and hope in our hearts.

Merciful Father, 

accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

THE PEACE

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
to which indeed you were called in the one body

The peace of the Lord be always with you. And also with you

HYMN - The king of love my shepherd is  NEH 457 - Dominus Regit Me

1 The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
And he is mine for ever.

2 Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul he leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow
With food celestial feedeth.

3 Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me,
And on his shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

4 In death's dark vale I fear no ill
With thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

5 Thou spread'st a table in my sight;
Thy unction, grace bestoweth:
And O what transport of delight
From thy pure chalice floweth!

6 And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house for ever.

The Preparation of the Table

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power,
the glory, the splendour, and the majesty;
for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.
All things come from you,
and of your own do we give you.

Eucharistic Prayer H 

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;
in your love you made us for yourself.
When we turned away
you did not reject us,
but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children
and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life

that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross
and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed,
at supper with his friends
he took bread, and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to them, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,
he gave you thanks, and said:
Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;
do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,
send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine
may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts
make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world
we offer you this sacrifice of praise
and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Jesus, lamb of God: have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins: have mercy on us
Jesus, redeemer of the world: grant us your peace.

As Mary’s body was given for Jesus, so Jesus’ body is given for us.
Here the Word made flesh comes to us, 

cradled in bread and wine.

Post Communion PRAYER

Loving God,
as a mother feeds her children
you feed us in this sacrament 
with the food and drink of eternal life:
help us who have tasted your goodness
to grow in grace within the household of faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

BLESSING

May the Lord who brought us to birth by his Spirit, 
strengthen us for the Christian life. 
May the Lord who provides for all our needs sustain us day by day. 
May the Lord whose steadfast love is constant, 
send us out to live and care for others. 
And the blessing of God Almighty, 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

HYMN - God is love let heaven adore him  NEH 364 - Abbot’s Leigh

1 God is Love: let heav'n adore him;
God is Love: let earth rejoice;
Let creation sing before him,
And exalt him with one voice.
He who laid the earth's foundation,
He who spread the heav'ns above,
He who breathes through all creation,
He is Love, eternal Love.

2 God is Love: and he enfoldeth
All the world in one embrace;
With unfailing grasp he holdeth
Every child of every race.
And when human hearts are breaking
Under sorrow's iron rod,
Then they find that selfsame aching
Deep within the heart of God.

3 God is Love: and though with blindness
Sin afflicts the souls of men,
God's eternal loving-kindness
Holds and guides them even then.
Sin and death and hell shall never
o'er us final triumph gain;
God is Love, so Love for ever
O'er the universe must reign.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ. Amen