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Weekly Bible Notes and Worship Resources

Mothering Sunday

Liturgical Colour - Purple


Please note that Bible Readings etc for Mothering Sunday
remain the same for each liturgical year

View a copy of our Mothering Sunday Service 2011

Introduction

Parents always think of their children as being rather special. We speak of our God as “loving father” and address him every week as “our Father”. Why then do we persist in thinking that God looks at us only to shake his head and criticize us? What if, what if, God looks at us with the same delight and joy that we look at our own beloved ones? What if, when God contemplates our lives, he doesn’t feel carping and depressed? What if God thinks we are wonderful, marvellously made in his image? We know that when God made the world he looked at it and saw that it was very good. We also know that in Jesus God became fully human and knows our weaknesses and failings. What if he loves us with the perfect tolerance and forgiveness that we would wish to show as parents? If we don’t believe in a God who is far better and more loving than the best human being, than our estimation of His grace and love is limited indeed. 

View this year's Mothering Sunday Service


Virgin Mary Opening Verses of Scripture 

Psalm 107

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 

Isaiah 66.13
As a mother comforts a child so will I comfort you, says the Lord.
 

Collect Prayer for the Day — Before we read we pray

Merciful Lord, you know our struggle to serve you: when sin spoils our lives and overshadows our hearts, come to our aid and turn us back to you again; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. Common Worship Shorter Collect

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.  Amen  Common Worship Collect for Mothering Sunday

God of love, passionate and strong, tender and careful; watch over us and hold us all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Common Worship Mothering Sunday Shorter Collect

First Bible Reading

Exodus 2:1-10

Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said.  Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" "Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."
 

Second Bible Reading (Choice of two)

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

or Colossians 3:12-17

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
 

Third Bible Reading (Choice of two)

Luke 2:33-35

The child's father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
 

or John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
 

 

Post Communion Sentence


Fourth Sunday of Lent   Lord God, whose blessed Son our saviour gave his back to the smiters and did not hide his face from shame: give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Mothering Sunday Loving God, as a mother feeds her children at the breast you feed us in this sacrament with the food and drink of eternal life: help us who have tasted your goodness to grow in grace within the household of faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Commentary

The Old Testament reading today isn’t just about Moses’ mother. It is about mothering- the qualities that make up maternal love. And from the story of Moses we can see that he wasn’t given just one mother but blessed with the love of three motherly women: his birth mother, his extraordinarily brave and resourceful sister and the warm-hearted Egyptian princess. These three women literally saved his life and put him on the path to becoming the saviour of his people. The story is a heart-warming one. Moses’s birth mother showed great courage and wisdom in allowing her son to be given away and put into danger in the shallows of the Nile. Moses’s sister, Miriam, was quick, alert, ready of wit and passionately concerned for her little brother’s survival. The character of the princess is interesting and it is sad that we know so little about her. Did she already have a husband and children? Was she childless? We do not know anything about her except that she felt compassion for the crying baby in the bulrushes and gave him a home and an education.

I feel very strongly that we should not assign special place to people that happen to have given birth! Many of the best mothers I know have never had children of their own, but they do have that special desire to nurture and protect which is the best kind of maternal feeling. The story of Moses and his three mothers reminds us on Mothering Sunday that the day is not just a celebration of mums (although we all had one)! The day is a chance to reflect on maternal feelings and how, at their very best, they can tell us about how God loves us.

Isaiah the prophet wrote
”As a mother comforts a child so will I comfort you, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66.13)

This view of God as being tenderly aware of our needs is a good counter-balance to the portrait of God as angry and stern, as is, in some places, described by the prophets.
 

Meditation

A Fault in the Design?

When God was creating mothers, he was deep in his sixth day of overtime. An angel appeared and said, ‘You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.’ And God answered, ‘Look at the requirement on this order and you’ll understand why. She has to be completely washable but not plastic. Have 180 movable parts, each one replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And have six pairs of hands.’
The angel shook her head, ‘Six pairs of hands? That’s not possible even for you, O God.’ ‘It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,’ replied the L ORD. ‘It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers are supposed to have.’ ‘Are the three pairs of eyes supposed to be on the standard model?’ asked the angel. The Lord nodded gravely. ‘One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, “What are you kids doing in there?” - even though she already knows. Another pair in the back of her head that sees what she’s not supposed to see but what she has to know about. And of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he does something really silly and reflect, “I understand and I love you.” even thought she doesn’t utter a word.’
‘Lord,’ said the angel gently, ‘get some rest. Tomorrow….try again.’ ‘I can’t,’ said the Lord. ‘I’m so close to creating something so similar to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick, can feed a family of six on three hundred grams of mince, and get a nine year old to stay under a shower for an incredible two minutes.
The angel circled the model of the mother very slowly and sighed, ‘It’s much too soft dear God.’ ‘Soft, yes, but tough too,’ said the Lord excitedly. ‘You cannot imagine what the mother can do or endure.’ ‘Can it think?’ asked the angel. ‘Not only think,’ said the Creator, ‘ it can also reason and compromise.’ Finally the angel bent over and ran her fingers across the cheek. ‘There’s a leak,’ she said suddenly. ‘I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model. You can’t ignore the stress factor.’
The Lord moved in for a closer look and gently lifted the drop of moisture to his finger where it glistened and sparkled in the light. ‘It’s not a leak,’ God said. ‘It’s a tear.’ The angel looked puzzled, ‘A tear? What’s that for?’ ‘It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, compassion, pain, loneliness, and pride.’ ‘You are a genius,’ said the angel rapturously.
The Lord looked somber and said, ‘I didn’t put it there.’
From the book ‘Gatherings’ by Bronwen Wild. The reading “And God created Mothers” by Erma Bombeck is on p18.

 

 

Hymns

  1. Morning has broken

  2. Give thanks with a grateful heart

  3. Lord of all hopefulness

  4. Be thou my vision

  5. O for a thousand tongues
     

 

 

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Prayer encouragement in the Christian life

"Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian.
If it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die."

Lord Jesus, you know well the blessing an earthly home can bring: receive our thanks for all the love we have received in our homes, especially from those who have nurtured us from our earliest years. Hear our prayers for mothers everywhere, that they may never lose heart nor ever be taken for granted, but receive from their children the honour and love you showed to your mother, Mary, even as you were suffering on the Cross.
Bless and keep them all, for your love's sake. Amen (Anglican Church in Ireland)


Remember, O Lord, all those in need: people with no good food or proper clothes, no home of their own, or no work to do; those who have neither family nor friends and no knowledge of the your love. Supply their needs. Bless those who try to help them and bring us all to trust in you.  We ask this is Jesus' name. Amen.

God our Father, we ask you to bless all who live alone, those who have lost their partner in marriage, those who have never married, those whose families are grown up and away from home and those who have outlived other members of their families and many of their friends: Be with them to assure them of your love and of their value to you every moment of their lives,
and enable them to rejoice in the fellowship of your Church on earth and in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Creator God, from whom every person and creature on earth gets life and breath, we pray for those who also create beauty, bring forth life and transform our understanding. Amen
 

Dear Lord, as I open my eyes on another day, please accompany me on my way. Please grant me understanding and encourage me to do your will, so that when evening falls again you may grant me rest and quietness. Amen
 


 

Mothering Sunday Resources

A Mothering Sunday Service 20011  A,   B C

Commentary

In the fourteenth century Julian of Norwich, the first woman to write in modern English, experienced and understood the motherhood of God in her visions. Mothering Sunday is a good day to share her vision and recognise that although we are distinguished by our gender, God is not. Instead God is both mother and father to us .

‘As truly as God is Father, so just as truly is he our mother.’
Julian of Norwich.
The reading from Luke which we know as the 'Prodigal Son' is one of the most profound teachings of Jesus. It gives to us a glimpse of that forgiveness which is found in God as parent. As no human parent can fail to forgive, so too God's forgiveness is not limited by the human capacity to sin.

 

Motherhood was not easy for Mary. She was young, inexperienced and unmarried. Her pregnancy was viewed with suspicion. Her baby was born far from home in difficult and dangerous surroundings. When she took her son to the temple, only days old, Simeon’s prophecy for his future was both ominous and exciting. Jesus’ childhood gave her cause for concern and in adulthood, it was clear that his life would become increasingly dangerous and he would be marginalised. Mary had to learn to put her own feelings to one side to support him in his mission. Finally, she suffered the worst thing that can happen to a mother, she had to watch her son die a tortured death.

Mothering Sunday

The two passages from the Gospels this morning are taken from the extreme ends of Jesus’ relationship with his mother, Mary. In the excerpt from Luke we meet Joseph and Mary in the temple celebrating the birth of the first born son, bringing him to be circumscribed according to the rites of their people. It should have been a joyful occasion and they have been greeted by Simeon prophesying Jesus’ greatness and heroic future life. Any parent would have been reeling from shock, even after the extraordinary events that had gone before. But it is Simeon’s prophesy about Mary’s suffering as a result of Jesus’ great calling on which we focus now. The first phrase stresses Jesus’ disruptive, transforming quality “this child is set for the rise and fall of many in Israel” and then says , almost incidentally that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart too. Note that the word chosen to describe the sword isn’t a genteel little dagger but rhomphaia meaning a huge battle weapon. This is a deadly weapon bringing death rather than injury and the selection of this word suggests Jesus’ death. The final phrase prophesying that Jesus will bring out the truth about people continues the theme that Jesus will be a catalyst for change, an force for change, a challenge for authority and bigotry down the ages.


The second part of the Gospel reading is taken from when Jesus, as a grown man in his thirties is about to die. We see Mary choosing to watch her son’s suffering, rather than leave him. We see that she waits with her women friends all the long hours when Jesus suffers on the Cross. Jesus displays equal loyalty to her, thinking of her plight as a widow and consigned her into the care of his disciple John. In the sermon today I shall be thinking about what that gesture implies for Jesus’ understanding of what family means, but here we shall notice Jesus’ love and compassion for his mother, and note their mutual loyalty and sense of responsibility for the happiness and well-being of the other. We take these feeling for granted and that is why we are so deeply shocked when the bond between parent and child is wrecked by cruelty, violence or deceit.


The reading from Paul’s letter to the church family at Colosse is an appeal for them to put aside differences over heresies and factions and to concentrate on the meaning of Christianity. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another”. Paul saw that the little church was being pulled apart by disputes and begged them to be governed by compassion, patience, kindness, gentleness and humility. All these peacemaking, reconciling qualities are essential for family life in every form. Joan Crossley
 

Mothering Sunday

The fourth Sunday in Lent is called Mothering Sunday. There are traditions associated with Mothering Sunday in England which date back as long ago as the 16th century. It is told that this was the day when people were encouraged to return to worship in their ‘mother church where they had been baptised. People who usually attended the local parish church, would make a longer journey to the ‘mother church’ or cathedral of the Diocese. Girls in domestic service would bake to show their mothers their new skills in the form of a gift, traditionally a simnel cake. On this day many girls who were in service were allowed time off from domestic chores to visit their mothers and their family.


Today Mothering Sunday is a popular day when Christians choose to use the occasion to think about all things which concern motherhood. We give thanks for the Church as Mother, the Virgin Mary as the mother of Jesus, we remember that God cares for us like a mother and last but not least we give thanks for our own mothers.
Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday in Lent and it is a time of special for thanksgiving. Sunday is the one day of joy in Lent, when flowers abound in all churches and when people are allowed a time off from the penitential season. It is also known as Mid-Lent Sunday, Refreshment Sunday or Laetare Sunday. The Latin name of Laetare, means rejoice.

Meditation

My nomination for Best Film this year wouldn’t be “Brokeback Mountain” although it was very moving, nor “The Constant Gardener” although we loved it.,. I would nominate a very unusual; movie, filmed in black and white, (with no violence, special effects nor graphic sex scenes) called “Goodnight and Good luck”. The film was written and directed by George Clooney and he takes a major role. But there is an even better reason to see this film, (if you can) because it is about moral choices and standing up publicly for what is right. The movie is set during the onslaught on freedom of thought and political affiliation made by Senator Joe McCarthy in early 1950s America. The movie charts the attempts of a television presenter Ed Morrow to protest against McCarthy as he pursued a witch hunt against anyone who had been a Communist or even were related in someway to Communists. Morrow and his team of chain-smoking, quietly dedicated reporters felt that it was their duty to show to America how the Constitution was being subverted by these trials. By standing up to the Senator, the newsmen were risking their jobs and livelihoods. When Morrow exposed McCarthy as a vindictive bully he too came under vicious attack. But the courage of Morrow and his team helped to turn the tide in a very dark era of American history. In a sense the historical setting doesn’t matter: it could be any period where freedom of thought, or action comes under threat, where the right to worship or believe is threatened. It poses a challenge for us Christians: are we mindful of Jesus’ example in challenging authority when necessary? Or have we become lazy, complacent or fearful of campaigning against injustice? Bullies are frightening and because they do not care how much they hurt, they enjoy too much power and influence. We must not take the easy path by agreeing with what we know to be wrong. Joan Crossley
 

Prayers for Mothering Sunday

Motherly God, in whose arms are held all who cry out to you. Teach me to open my heart, my home, even when I have little to give to make room for all your children and give them space to grow. Dear Life, Christian Aid, 1998

For mothers. Lord Jesus, you know well the blessing an earthly home can bring: Receive our thanks for all the love we have received in our homes, especially from those who have nurtured us from our earliest years. Hear our prayers for mothers everywhere, that they may never lose heart nor ever be taken for granted, but receive from their children the honour and love you showed to your mother, Mary, even as you were suffering on the Cross. Bless and keep them all, for your love's sake. Amen

For those in need Remember, O Lord, all those in need: people with no good food or proper clothes,
no home of their own, or no work to do; those who have neither family nor friends and no knowledge of the your love. Supply their needs. Bless those who try to help them and bring us all to trust in you. 
We ask this is Jesus' name. Amen.

For those who live alone God our Father, we ask you to bless all who live alone, those who have lost their partner in marriage, those who have never married, those whose families are grown up and away from home and those who have outlived other members of their families and many of their friends:
Be with them to assure them of your love and of their value to you every moment of their lives, and enable them to rejoice in the fellowship of your Church on earth and in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Forgiving God, we thank you for welcoming us, your wayward children, into your kingdom of peace and justice again and again. We are astounded with your patience and generosity in your dealings with recovering sinners like us. We seek your help in removing the spiritual roadblocks from our lives that keep us from moving closer to you, Lord, on the highway of life. Renew us and guide us, O God.

Life is full of celebrations and challenges. You are with us, O Lord our Companion, through it all. Our burdens seem looming and diverse: declining health, cancer, heart disease, A.I.D.S., mental illness, financial problems, family discord, and more. Yet our blessings also are many; anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, homecomings, life giving relationships, early spring blossoms, and the Enduring Love of Christ Jesus. You know our concerns Healing God, even before we speak them. You have felt our agony through Christ and we are encouraged to know that you walk with us through all of life’s trails and tribulations.

Loving God - we come before you today aware of how you call us to be like you - remembering that you made us in your own image - that you entrusted to us this world and all that is in it- that you gave to us brothers and sisters - mothers and fathers people to love and to enjoy and to work for and pray for. Help us dear God to remember our own sin before you and how you forgive it - help us to remember the Cross of Christ - and why he died upon it. And make us messengers of your reconciling love, ambassadors for your kingdom, people who show forth your grace, and celebrate with your joy. Amen.

Father in heaven, bless all mothers and those who look after us in our daily lives. Make us grateful for their goodness and thankful for their care. Help us to respond to them in loving obedience; following the example of Jesus, your Son, our Lord.  Amen.  Prayers for children

Hymns for Sunday

  1. Praise to the Lord
  2. Hosanna
  3. O give thanks
  4. Tell out my soul
  5. Love divine
  6. Now thank we all our God

 

Mothering Sunday Resources

If a child lives with criticism,
HE learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
HE learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
HE learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
HE learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
HE learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
HE learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
HE learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
HE learns justice.
If a child lives with security, HE learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
HE learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
HE learns to find love in the world.

May God inspire all parents and grandparents, teachers
and carers who nurture our children. May we all by our Christian conduct provide good examples which may lead them to follow Christ.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Mothering Sunday


We thank God for giving us others to share in our lives:
For parents, and the love which brought us to birth:
We praise you, O Lord;
and bring you thanks today.

For mothers who have cherished and nurtured us:
We praise you, O Lord;
and bring you thanks today.

For fathers who have loved and supported us,
We praise you, O Lord;
and bring you thanks today.

For brothers and sisters with whom we have shared our home:
We praise you, O Lord;
and bring you thanks today.

For children and their parents:
We praise you, O Lord;
and bring you thanks today.

For other relatives and friends, who have been with us
in our hopes and joys and times of sadness:
We praise you, O Lord;
and bring you thanks today.

For all who first spoke to us of Jesus, and have drawn us
into the family of our Father in heaven:
We praise you, O Lord;
and bring you thanks today.
Help us to live
as those who belong to one another,
and to you, our Father, now and always. Amen.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

For the mothering of mothers
and the mothering of fathers
for the mothering of others:
 

Mother God,
we give you thanks
For those who act as midwife to our hopes,
for those who nurse us through our pain,
for those who nurture, strengthen and guide us:
 

Mother God,
we give you thanks
For those who gently push us from the nest,
for those who welcome us home,
for those who become our family,
for the motherhood of the Church:
 

Mother God,
we give you thanks
 

Mothering Sunday Blessing

May the Lord who brought us to birth by his Spirit,
strengthen us for the Christian life.

May the Lord who provides for all our needs
sustain us day by day.

May the Lord whose steadfast love is constant as a mother's care,
send us out to live and work for others.

And the blessing of God Almighty.
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you always. Amen.

 

A Hymn for Mothering Sunday

Our Father God in heaven

Our Father God in heaven
    On whom our world depends,
To you let praise be given
    For families and friends;
For parents, sisters, brothers,
    A home where love belongs,
But on this day for mothers
    We bring our thankful songs.

 What wealth of God’s bestowing
    For all the world to share!
What strength of heart outgoing
    To children everywhere!
Our deepest joys and sorrows
    A mother’s path must trace,
And earth’s unknown tomorrows
    Are held in her embrace.

 How well we know the story
    That tells of Jesus’ birth,
The Lord of heaven’s glory
    become a child of earth;
A helpless infant sleeping,
    yet King of realms above,
who finds in Mary’s keeping
    the warmth of human love.

 Our Father God in heaven,
    To you we lift our prayer,
That every child be given
    Such tenderness and care,
Where life is all for others,
    Where love your love displays:
For God’s good gift of mothers
    Let earth unite in praise!

Mothering Sunday; the Virgin Mary
7 6 7 6 D
Suggested tunes: WOLVERCOTE or
CRUGER or ST. THEODULPH  Or SARA