Summary: Mothering Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Lent focuses on 3 mothers - Mary the mother of Jesus, Mother Church and our own mothers.

Mothering Sunday

A 102 year old lady was asked if she had any worries.

Her reply, 'No not now I have got my youngest son in an old people's home'.

I guess parents never stop worrying about their children.

However, sometimes it's the children that worry about their parents and the things they do.

As a 10 year old once said: When your mum is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair!'

And a13 year old also learnt one of life's lessons: 'When you get bad marks at school, show it to your Mum when she's on the phone'

Today is 'Mothering Sunday' and our traditional festival dates back to the 16th century, when there were very few holidays, and children as young as 10 were at work away from home.

They would be given the day off on this mid-Lent Sunday to visit their mothers and family.

Girls who were 'in service' would bake a cake to show their mothers their new skills - a 'Simnel Cake'.

What's more, as they walked home across the country, they would gather violets and other wild flowers to give to their mums as a gift, and also to take to church.

Today has become a day to give thanks for the care of the Church, and to reflect on God's loving nature"

It is also a time to express thanks to our mothers, and celebrate motherhood.

It's natural for us to remember the happy times of childhood and those happy memories of our parents.

As parents we can remember wondering, what our child would grow up to be and do.

Indeed Mary the mother of Jesus, treasured up all these things; and pondered them in her heart.

As time has gone by we've discovered that being a parent is a mixture of highs and lows, Joys and sorrows.

Surely whenever anyone truly loves, they experience moments of pure joy, and times of pain and heartache.

Human relationships are never easy and being a mother, or father, is never simple. To love is hard work.

It means making ourselves vulnerable in self-giving -emotionally sharing in the lives of others.

Susanna, was the mother of John Wesley -the founder of the Methodist movement.

Susanna had 19 children, only 10 of whom survived.

As a mother, she had an enormous influence upon John -more, in fact, than her husband.

Samuel Wesley was Rector of the parish of Epworth in Lincolnshire and in 1709 the rectory was completely destroyed by fire.

John was just 6 years old at the time and was rescued from an upstairs window - from that time on the conviction grew that he had been spared for a special purpose.

Susanna saw the fire as being a sign from God concerning young John and she vowed to be more careful of the soul of this child.

Susanna was a brilliant teacher and had strong views on the upbringing of her Children.

In September 1724 she wrote to John: I heartily wish you were in Holy Orders.

I wonder what her thoughts were for her child?

What was the degree of her influence on his Life?

It was to be a life of trials and triumphs -Joys and sorrows.

Do you remember when Jesus was received in the temple by Simeon when he said, ‘Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.’

Despite Mary’s joy Simeon spoke of sorrow like ‘a sword will pierce through your own soul too’

I wonder if she remembered these incidents when she stood at the foot of the cross?

Just as life is full of highs and lows, so the Gospel is full of contrasts and choices:

• Judgement and Salvation;

• Darkness and Light;

• Suffering and Healing;

• Falsehood and Truth;

• Evil and Good;

• Hell and Heaven;

• Death and Resurrection

• Sorrow and Joy

Throughout the gospel Jesus constantly presents us with choices and challenges

But also, we see that once we’ve made those choices, following Him will involve a spiritual, a physical and an emotional struggle.

Joy and pain - just as Jesus experienced Himself.

Life is a mixed bag, but through it all, Jesus offers us hope.

Some find mothering Sunday hard, some are going through tough times but always remember the hope of future joy as well as sorrow now.

On Mothering Sunday, remember God’s love and care for you, You are His precious child and He shares your joy and your pain;

He is there to embrace you with His loving and healing arm; and that He can give the strength that you need on your journey of faith.

Remember too that He can bring new life into the world;

That He can release us and our communities to discover life in all it's fullness as we surrender ourselves to Him;

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