MORNING Service for Mothering Sunday 2023


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.

MORNING Service for Mothering Sunday 2023

HYMN – Lord of all hopefulness NEH 239 – Slane

1. Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,

Whose trust, ever childlike, 

no cares could destroy,

Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,

Your bliss in our hearts, Lord,

At the break of the day.

2. Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,

Whose strong hands were skilled at 

the plane and the lathe,

Be there at our labours and give us, we pray,

Your strength in our hearts, Lord,

At the noon of the day.

3. Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,

Your hands swift to welcome, 

Your arms to embrace.

Be there at our homing, and give us, 

we pray,

Your love in our hearts, Lord,

At the eve of the day.

4. Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,

Whose voice is contentment, 

whose presence is balm,

Be there at our sleeping, and give us, 

we pray,

Your peace in our hearts, Lord,

At the end of the day..

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

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


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 – Brother, sister, let me serve you  H&S 18

1. Brother, sister, let me serve you,

let me be as Christ to you;

pray that I may have the grace to

let you be my servant, too.

2. We are brothers on a journey,

we are sisters on the road;

we are here to help each other

walk the mile and bear the load.

3. I will hold the Christlight for you

in the night-time of your fear;

I will hold my hand out to you,

speak the peace you long to hear.

4. I will weep when you are weeping;

when you laugh I’ll laugh with you.

I will share your joy and sorrow

till we’ve seen this journey through.

5. When we sing to God in heaven

we shall find such harmony,

born of all we’ve known together

of Christ’s love and agony.

6. Brother, sister, let me serve you,

let me be as Christ to you;

pray that I may have the grace to

let you be my servant, too.

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.


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 not cause to happen, but let happen – in other words, we are not to 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.


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

HYMN – Longing for light, we wait in darkness  H&S 60

1.Longing for light, we wait in darkness.

Longing for truth, we turn to you.

Make us your own, your holy people,

light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light! 

Shine in our hearts. 

Shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light!

Shine in your church gathered today.

2. Longing for peace, our world is 


Longing for hope, many despair.

Your word alone has power to save us.

Make us your living voice.


3. Longing for food, many are hungry.

Longing for water, many still thirst.

Make us your bread, broken for others,

shared until all are fed.


4. Longing for shelter, many are homeless.

Longing for warmth, many are cold.

Make us your building, sheltering others,

walls made of living stones.


5. Many the gifts, many the people,

many the hearts that yearn to belong.

Let us be servants to one another,

Making your kingdom come.


INTERCESSIONS – Kristin Tridimas

Dear God, on this Mothering Sunday, may we remember our Mother Church; the place we first worshipped; the church in our home town; the place that is the centre of our community.  Thank you for all the who keep our churches running and for William, Warwick, Myra, Keith and anyone else who ministers to us.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

On this joyful Spring day, let us say thank you to mothers, grandmothers, parents and carers everywhere.  Jesus preached love and love is at the centre of all you do:  love, hope, peace and joy.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We remember today all those who no longer have mothers or fathers and we think of the recently bereaved.  In a moment of silence, we remember all those known to us personally…  Send comfort to the bereaved, peace to the troubled in mind and hope for the future.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for anyone who suffers in body, mind or spirit.  We think of anyone affected by the cost of living crisis, the homeless, refugees and all those affected by the war in Ukraine and the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.  We think of anyone who is unwell at this time and those who care for them:  doctors, nurses and carers and we remember all those on the benefice prayer list:  Ray Hills, Jessie Fellows and those known only to us…  Bring them comfort and help us to ease their pain.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Thank you, Lord, for those who help educate and bring up our children when their parents are at work or busy:  the teachers and staff of our benefice schools, playgroups and nurseries, grandmothers, nannies and childminders.  

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

As we look forward to warmer months, may we approach the coming week with love and joy and go forward in hope.

Merciful Father, 

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

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.


May the Lord who brought us to birth by his Spirit, 

strengthen us for the Christian life. 

May the Lord who 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 At the name of Jesus – Camberwell – NEH 338 – Camberwell

1 At the name of Jesus

Every knee shall bow,

Every tongue confess him

King of glory now;

’Tis the Father’s pleasure

We should call him Lord,

Who from the beginning

Was the mighty Word.

2 At his voice creation

Sprang at once to sight,

All the angel faces,

All the hosts of light,

Thrones and bright dominations,

Stars upon their way,

All the heavenly orders,

In their great array.

3 Humbled for a season,

To receive a name

From the lips of sinners

Unto whom he came,

Faithfully he bore it

Spotless to the last,

Brought it back victorious

When from death he passed:

4 Bore it up triumphant

With its human light,

Through all ranks of creatures,

To the central height,

To the throne of Godhead,

To the Father’s breast;

Filled it with the glory

Of that perfect rest.

5 In your hearts enthrone him;

There let him subdue

All that is not holy,

All that is not true:

He is God the Saviour,

He is Christ the Lord,

Ever to be worshipped,

Trusted, and adored.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen

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