A Service for Mothering Sunday

 

Mother is a noun, but it is also a verb - we can’t all be a mother, but we can all mother.

Hymn ‘For the beauty of the earth’ - 

When we are happy 

When we are full of fun and laughter

All God welcomes us. 

When we are angry, 

When people let us down and make us sad

All God welcomes us. 

When we are tired 

When we need to stop and curl up and rest

All God welcomes us. 

God of welcome 

God whose door is always open

All God welcomes us.

Prayers of Confession 

God of the spirit of kindness, 

in the glory of earth and sea and stars, 

in the kaleidoscope 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. 

God who is both power and love, 

forgive us and free us from our sins, 

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, 

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

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. 

Sermon

It seems strange to be typing this address into my computer when really I should be speaking to you in the flesh. But strange times require strange means and technology has given us ways to communicate previous generations could not have dreamed of.

In Britain Mothering Sunday probably dates back to the 16th century when people returned to their mother church, possibly the diocesan cathedral, to celebrate Laetare Sunday, from the introit for the day ‘Laetare Jerusalem’, ‘O be joyful Jerusalem - rejoice O Jerusalem and come together for you that love her.’ From those roots it became a day when children and young people ‘in service’ could return to their mothers. By 1920 it had fallen into disuse but was given new impetus by American and Canadian troops during World War II bringing their recent tradition of Mother's Day (the second Sunday in May). The two celebrations merged in the UK to the point that people now think that they're the same thing.

So what was the point of telling you all that? Only to say that the roots of Mothering Sunday are in thanksgiving and rejoicing. It is a break from Lenten discipline and an honouring of the practice of mothering, that is, caring. We celebrate and are grateful for all who give care to others.

It seems to me that at this time of national emergency, when we fear disease and economic ruin, it has never been more appropriate to celebrate and give thanks for the caregivers at home, in hospital, and in the community. To thank those who care for the ones they love, those who care for strangers, and those whose caring for others puts them at risk. All these people we must celebrate and rejoice in. For in these people the Kingdom of God is brought to birth.

Intercessions

Let us pray to God:

We give you thanks for all who have cared for us,

nurtured and loved us, for all who care for strangers 

in home and hospital, for whoever shows love

to another. We give you thanks and praise.

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For all who are affected by coronavirus,

through illness or isolation or anxiety,

that they may find relief and recovery:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time,

and shaping national policies,

that they may make wise decisions:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers,

that through their skill and insights

many will be restored to health:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For the vulnerable and the fearful,

for the gravely ill and the dying,

that they may know your comfort and peace:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,

to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father,

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

Hymn ‘Brother sister, let me serve you’ -

For all that God can do within us 

For all that God can do without us

Thanks be to God. 

For all in whom Christ lived before us 

For all in whom Christ lives beside us.

Thanks be to God. 

For all the Spirt wants to bring us 

For where the Spirit wants to send us.

Thanks be to God 

Christ has promised to be with us in the world 

as in our worship.

Amen, we go to meet him.

Blessing for Mothering Sunday

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.

To End the service

With acknowledgement for material from the Wild Goose Resource Group, the Mothers Union and the Church of England website, Bible extract from the NRSV.