St. Mary's Church

Mothering Sunday

13 Mar 2021 • General news

Exodus 2. 1-10

2Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. 3When 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. 4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

5 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. 6When 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. 7Then 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?’ 8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’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. 10When 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.’

2 Corinthians 1. 3-7

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. 6If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. 7Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.

Luke 2. 33-35

33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then 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 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

Thought for Mothering Sunday 2021 by Malcolm Tyler

Today’s passage from 2 Corinthians is one of those readings from the Bible that has given me so much hope. Before I was ordained in 1985, I went on a private retreat and mentioned it beforehand to my ordaining bishop; he recommended the passage as one to reflect upon and it has stayed with me ever since.

Even a very quick reading of the passage immediately draws your mind to the word ‘consolation’. In some form it appears 10 times in 5 verses. Our God is a god of consolation. Even when we are afflicted, he is there to console us. For the vast majority of people, their mother has been the one who will often have consoled them. In childhood we may have heard those consoling words ‘it will be alright’. Maybe too, as an adult, our mothers may have stretched out an arm to us when things had gone awry. Today, perhaps we can acknowledge with thanksgiving those things for which we are grateful to our mothers, even if they have died some time ago. But as we do so, may we also recall the consolation we have received from God himself when things have been difficult.

Paul makes the point in this passage that the affliction or consolation he suffers is for the consolation of the Christians in Corinth to whom he is writing. When the Corinthians are afflicted, they may be consoled by the fact that Paull too has suffered similarly but that he has confidence in God. I once remember attending a service in Cambridge at which the then Archbishop of Canterbury was the main speaker. At the end of his presentation the audience were allowed to ask a few questions which had to be submitted on pieces of paper. I sent one in which was along the lines ‘what do you do if you find it difficult to believe in the goodness of God?’ As the questions were taken, mine did not appear. The congregation was then told that there would be one more question, perhaps the most important question of the evening. Mine was read out. Imagine my shock! The answer however has remained with me. It went ‘if you can’t believe yourself, look to those around you who do, they can give you the confidence that you need’. I think also there was a comment that doubt comes to all of us, none are exempt, and that the faith of others can be a great consolation at such a time. The people around us are so important, as we have learnt during this past year when our contacts have been so limited.

There is, though, another side to this. We may be the ones who hold to the faith for others who are doubting. We should not assume that we are always the doubting ones. So, the things I would leave you to ponder today are ‘who can I be strong for today?’ and ‘whose strength has been helpful to me in the past that I can give thanks for today?

Prayers adapted from a national service for Mothering Sunday available to all

As children of a loving God who always listens to our cries, let us pray to our Father in heaven.

God of love and kindness, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love;

God of love,

hear our prayer.

God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light; may we too play our part where we can,

God of love,

hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain, knowing that whenever danger threatens your everlasting arms are there to hold them. Comfort and heal them, and restore them to health and strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God of love,

hear our prayer.

God of consolation, we bring before you those who died and those who grieve for them.Especially we pray today for Roger Carradine, Tom, Lucy and their families as they grieve for Mary,

God of love,

hear our prayer

We pray for those who are facing war, conflict and displacements, as well as the challenges of Covid-19, and we place all your precious children into your hands.

God of love,

Hear our prayer.