Summary: MOTHERING SUNDAY SERMON
THE CARING MOTHER AND THE CARING CHILD
The history of Mothering Sunday is interesting. Some say it is difficult to be definitive about how it all began. The following are some of the theories advanced about the history of this all important day:
It may have started from a Roman Spring festival- a time in which the Romans (centuries ago) would celebrate one of their goddesses- the mother goddess, Cybele. It is believed this festival was later Christianised by the churches at that time into remembering and celebrating the role of mothers.
Another vein of thought says in those days when Britain had a large number of church-going population, church goers developed the habit of finding time once per year to visit the church where they were baptised, irrespective of where they were- within the parish or outside. They found time to make this annual pilgrimage to their mother-church or home-church. Therefore, the day they made the visit to worship in their mother-church (where they were baptised) was later called Mothering Sunday.
It is also believed that those young folks who were working for rich people as maids or servants were given a special day-off on a Sunday (which was once per year), just to go and visit their mothers. This visit by young workers was later known as- Mothering Sunday.
What is unique about this celebration is the way it is labelled in this part of the world. In Britain and apparently in the Anglican Communion, we prefer to call it Mothering Sunday (the present participle functioning as an adjective) instead of in the possessive form- Mother’s Day (as the Americans would call it). There is slight difference, in terms of grammar between the two; which I will not go into. Therefore this morning, I will be talking on: The Caring Mother and the Caring Child.
I will use the Gospel reading for today i.e. John 19 verses 23 - 30 as a text and I will major on verses 25 to 27; which will be a portal to other references in the New Testament.
Let us pray:
Our caring God, make us to have careful thoughts on your word; so that at the end of the day we may be the caring persons you want us to be. We ask this prayer, in the Name of your Son- our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The Objectives of the Message
I want us to take a closer look at a model of a caring mother and a caring child in the New Testament. As I was preparing for this message, two distinguished personalities came to my mind- mother Mary and Jesus Christ (the caring child).
As we study the life of Mary this morning, it is my hope that we can learn a lot from her caring-mother disposition. Furthermore, I want us to learn something from Jesus’ caring attitude towards his mother and this is what I will be actually emphasizing.
The Text and Other References
Our Gospel reading this morning (especially verses 25 to 27) gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ caring attitude towards his mother. Before he gave up the ghost and suffering from the excruciating pain of a pierced side, gaping wounds from the nails, beatings and thorns and experiencing dehydration- he hung up there on the cruel cross and made adequate preparation for his beloved mother who was about to lose her son. We therefore heard this caring son (age 33), though in severe pains, talking to one of his disciples he loved (i.e. John, the evangelist and the Gospel writer), to take care of his mum in his absence. He said to John: “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.’ What a caring son Jesus was.
This was not the only time Jesus showed concern for his mother. At another point in time, he showed concern for his mother- obeying the wishes of his mum. By then he was perhaps age 30, just beginning his public ministry. John (the Gospel writer) tells us, in chapter 2, that at a family wedding in Cana, the wine for the occasion had finished. Mother Mary was perhaps one of the god-parents for the bride and groom. She was concerned that they would be embarrassed because the celebration would go on without wine, since the stock of wine they had had finished. He called her son to help. Jesus reminded her that his ‘time has not yet come’. Having confidence in her son (that is one attribute of a caring mother- have confidence in your child or children) she told the servants to do whatever Jesus would ask them to do. Jesus being the caring and obedient son did not disappoint his mum and so provided excellent wine for the occasion through a miracle. This was Jesus’ first miracle and it came about as a result of obedience to the demands of his mother.