Here are the readings, a reflection and prayers for Mothering Sunday.
Collect (or Prayer for Today)
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, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
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.
The Gospel: John 19:25-27
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.
A Reflection by Revd. Jane Cresswell
How apt that the Psalm set for today, the 4th Sunday of Lent, is Psalm 23.
Events have been fast moving since the beginning of March. In the middle of the current Coronavirus pandemic many people now find themselves self-isolating or social distancing … a phrase not in common use before.
Fear and anxiety are inevitable, if unwanted, companions at the present time. But I believe that even in the most difficult and challenging times, God is present and God cares. Just as a mother comforts a child who is frightened or sick, so God wants to comfort us.
Christians believe we are never alone, even when we are separated from our loved ones, because God is with us, surrounding us with love, longing to fill our hearts with peace beyond human understanding.
And alongside the uncertainties and concerns with which we live, we are also seeing an outpouring of kindness and goodwill – neighbours wanting to support those who can’t get out. In this crisis we have an opportunity to rise to the challenge to be the people God created us to be – people who love their neighbours as themselves, who hurt with and for one another, and stand ready to support and care for one another and be bearers of hope.
This crisis will pass. We don’t know when, but history reminds us that all things pass. When it is over, let’s not forget the good lessons learnt about the value of community and the connections between us.
And while it lasts, let’s make time to appreciate the greater stillness of the world, the clearer skies, the opportunity to be in one place; and let’s be open to rediscover the simple pleasures of life as we have time to watch the flowers grow.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
A Hymn for Mothering Sunday (to the tune of Eternal Father, Strong to Save]
O God in heaven, whose loving plan ordained for us our parents' care, and from the time our life began, the shelter of a home to share. Refrain: Our Father, on the homes we love send down your blessing from above. May young and old together find in Christ, the Lord of every day, that fellowship our homes may bind in joy and sorrow, work and play. Refrain Forgive the sins that mar our lives; our selfishness by love subdue; as parents, children, make you wise in glad obedience to you. Refrain O Father, in our home preside, there duties shared as in your sight; in kindly ways be now our guide, on mirth and trouble shed your light. Refrain
Prayers for Today
Compassionate God, open our hearts that we may feel the breadth and play of your Spirit,
Unclench our hands that we may reach out to one another in openness and generosity,
Free our lips that we may speak for those whose voices are not heard,
Unblock our ears to hear the cries of the broken hearted,
And open our eyes to see Christ in friend and stranger,
That in sharing our love and pain, our poverty and prosperity,
We may move towards that peace and justice which comes from you and so be bearers of divine reconciliation.
[Annabel Shilson Thomas in “Let Justice roll down”]
A Prayer for Mothers
Lord, you give us life, and care for us like a mother who does not forsake her children.
We pray for our mothers today, putting them into your hands for time and eternity; and particularly at this time, we ask your blessing on all our relationships in the families of our homes, our churches and our communities.
|A Prayer in the Midst of a Crisis|
|God of searching and knowing,|
your people Israel faced famine and wilderness,
and your church has known persecution and hardship.
Be close to all your children in this time of bewilderment and fear.
Make this time of cessation and isolation
one in which your Spirit reveals new ways to be together,
fresh discoveries in worship, different gestures of care,
and innovative forms of compassion.
Encourage the vulnerable, comfort the impoverished,
inspire the anxious and give wisdom to those who govern.
Lift up our hearts that we may see
the abundance of what is still beautiful and true,
not be captivated by what is lost and absent,
and find new gifts in ourselves and one another.
In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
who knew what it meant to be alone. Amen
[Sam Wells; St Martins in the Fields]
A Prayer of Self-Dedication
God of my faith, I offer you my doubt, for life at times seems far too dark for me and my belief becomes more insecure when worldly cares produce uncertainty.
God of my hope, I offer you my fear, when I am scared by my anxiety, when all I hear is suffering and woe, in all my shadows you will walk with me.
God of my joy, I offer you my grief, when I sink down in sadness or despair, when in depression I cannot be touched, I pray in all my depths to find you there.
God of my love, I offer you my pain, when I’m alone and feel nobody cares, in aching age or in rejected youth, you bear my cross and dry my human tears.
God of my life, I offer you my dreams, light in the darkness when I hide from view, light in my faith, my hope, my joy and love, light in my life and all my life in you.
[Colin Ferguson in “Let Justice Roll down”]