Good morning everyone. Today is Mothering Sunday and the reading today looks at Jesus’ presentation in the temple, where his mother Mary is told how special he is. It is a time we think of our own mother and traditionally when we returned to our Mother church or focal parish church. The reflection is by Rev Hannah today and the intercessions are by myself.
In our churches last Sunday we were all read a statement from Rev Peter, as you may know he has not been well recently and he asked us to read this to all our congregations. I hope that you will remember him in your prayers as we are all doing at the moment.
Health update on Team Rector – with his permission
There is bad news from Peter’s CT scan; Peter has some form of blood cancer – they don’t know exactly what or how bad yet, but clearly not good. Please pray and give him space to recover.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Be with us, Spirit of God. Nothing can separate us from your love
Breathe on us breath of God. Fill us with your saving power
Speak in us, wisdom of God. Bring strength, healing and peace.
The Lord is here. His Spirit is with us.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
Almighty God, long suffering and of great goodness; I confess to you, I confess with my whole heart my neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments, my wrong doing, thinking and speaking; the hurts I have done to others, and the good I have left undone. O God forgive me, for I have sinned against you; and raise me to newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Merciful God, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the home in Nazareth and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself; strengthen us in our daily lives that in joy and sorrow we may know the power of thy presence to bind together and to heal; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.
THE OLD TESTAMENT READING
EXODUS 2. 1-10
A man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him. The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because,’ she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. Glory to you O Lord.
LUKE 2. 33-35
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Jesus. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
The poet Edgar Allan Poe wrote these words:
Because I feel that, in the Heavens above, The angels, whispering to one another, Can find, among their burning terms of love, None so devotional as that of ‘Mother’.
On Mothering Sunday we often get wrapped up in the people we identify as ‘Mum’ or ‘Grandma’ or other such caregivers that have had a biological or legal duty towards us, but I feel it is in fact much more than that.
Historically, Mothering Sunday was a festival when domestic workers were given time off to visit their mother church, the church where they were baptised. It would often be the only time that young people would get to return to their families and as such it evolved to be a celebration of family links. Advertisements and supermarkets would have us believe that this time is simply a well placed day to spoil mum with fresh spring flowers. But some people may no longer have a mum, grandma, aunty etc. These people may have passed away or they may have been left behind for one reason or another. And I cannot adequately sum up the sense of loss that this might bring.
If we think deeper into what we mean by ‘mother’ and look beyond our relatives, caregivers and even beyond the female persona. You can easily start to identify the ways in which our God mothers us. ‘Mum’ is special and whoever you most identify in this role will always have a place in your heart. But if we take the time to add our God into that special place too, then we will always carry his devotion and love with us. God’s love is a love that is sacrificial. And at this time of year, as we approach Easter we can identify this sacrifice in the example of Jesus. He shows that we are so loved, he is prepared to die for us and at Easter that is made very clear with his crucifixion.
We are all part of God’s family. He is devoted to us as his children and we in turn should be able to embrace all God’s children and welcome them with a love which is ‘motherly’. I pray that as we celebrate motherly love here today, we do so with the intention of giving thanks for those who have shown love to us. And as we go about our lives this week let us pray that we will show motherly love to all God’s children in the same way that he does.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of the Father; he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen
During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme
Blessed are you, Lord our God, for you have created us all. We are your children, loved by you and ever under your care and protection. We thank you for our life, your love and all that you give us. Blessed are you Father Son and Holy Spirit.
We thank you for the church that tells of your love and helps people to know you. Loving God, bless our church that it may show your love to all who come to it. We remember especially today any who would have liked to be here but were unable to come.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
WE thank you for our wonderful world that you have given us for the air we breathe and for water. We thank you for all growing things and for food. God bless all who work hard to provide us with what we need. We pray especially for the hungry and homeless people
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We thank you God for the love of our homes. Thank you for the love and care of our mother or the person that looks after us. We pray for families where a loved one is ill or have lost their mothers. We remember all who are suffering from lack of love and those who live in homes where there is tension and broken relationships.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We thank you for the confidence and joy we have through knowing we are loved. We ask your blessing upon all who are lonely or neglected. We pray for those separated from their loved ones through illness or circumstance. We pray for all who have been taken into care. We ask your blessing Lord on those who are ill at home or in hospital especially Rev Peter Reiss, and Thomas Causton and any others known to us. May they feel your love and care and have hope in their faith with you.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer
We give thanks for your eternal love and we pray to you for all our loved ones departed thinking especially today of Dave Wilson and his family and from our Book of Remembrance Robert Goff Pearce, Gertrud Erna Parton, Andrew John Ketchen, Herbert E Shuttleworth & Gordon Thexton.
We remember all who have enriched our lives by their goodness, and we think of those who are finding Mothering Sunday difficult today. We commit our loved ones and all people to your unfailing love.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
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 God, who gave birth to all creation, bless you;
May God, who became incarnate by an earthly mother. Bless you;
May God, who broods as a mother over her children, bless you.
May almighty God bless you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; now and forever. Amen