Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 2:33-35

Mothering Sunday

St Barbara’s; 26.3.17

Rev Tulo Raistrick

Mothering Sunday can be a joyful and special day, but for many it is not always an easy day.

Indeed our Gospel reading is hardly a celebration of the joys of motherhood. Mary is told her son will be unpopular and disliked, and “a sword will pierce her own soul, too.”

Mothering Sunday can be a joyful day, but for many it can be a sad day too:

remembering our mothers who have died

remembering mothers who we never really knew

remembering those mothers who are not now all they used to be

remembering  a relationship that may not have been easy

experiencing the pain of not being a mother, when you may have hoped to have been

experiencing the sadness of losing children you were a mother to

The ups and downs of motherhood, the joys and the anguish, the hopes and the disappointments, show us something of what God the Father must have experienced for his children. The joy of their praise and delight in the goodness of the world; the pain of their turning from him, of rejecting his love; the sacrifice embraced to do anything to care for and win his children back. The trials and tribulations of motherhood we see mirrored on a cosmic scale in the parent-heart of God.

So today is a good day to reflect once more on the God who is both mother and father to us all, who bends over us with tenderness like a mother hen shielding her chicks under the protection of her wings. A day to be grateful for the parent love of God.

Mothering Sunday is also a day which can often bring together different generations of the same family. Occasionally in church, I find myself greeting three generations, sometimes even four generations, of the same family – daughter, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother – and it is fun to try and trace the physical likeness or even the character likeness passed on through the generations, whether revealed through the same smile, the warmth of the handshake, the energy or life conveyed.

Our New Testament reading from Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae begins by reminding the readers that they are “the people of God”, they belong to him,  they are born of him, and therefore we would expect to see the qualities that are in God reflected in their lives too.

Qualities of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, peace, thankfulness, love. When people see those qualities in us, they will see the Father.

But we cannot produce those qualities by force of will or by determination and will-power. They only come as we spend time in the presence of the One who shows them completely. As we spend time with him, so we come to be more like him.

This Mothering Sunday may we come to know more deeply the God who is our mother and father, and may we come to be more like Him.