I love this time of year as suddenly the world seems to be waking up, stretching and looking forward to the warmer weather. Even the rectory garden is coming alive with snowdrops and aconites and the hope of a few early daffodils.
But this is also a time when Christians begin to look forward to a new season. It doesn’t seem long since Christmas, but we’re already looking ahead to Lent which begins on 1st March (Ash Wednesday) and then to Easter.
Of course, before Easter, on the 26th March, we celebrate Mothering Sunday:
Centuries ago during Lent it was considered important for people to return to their home or ‘mother’ church. This was often the church in which they had been baptised.
Inevitably the return to the ‘mother’ church became an occasion for family reunions as children who worked away as domestic servants or apprentices, were given the day off to return home to visit their family. (It was quite common in those days for children to leave home for work when they were only ten years old.)
As they walked along the country lanes, the children would pick wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother as a small gift, hence our present day tradition of giving flowers.
Another important tradition associated with Mothering Sunday was the practice of ‘clipping’ the church, during which the congregation would form a ring around their church building and, holding hands, embrace it and give thanks for all it meant to them.
So this Mothering Sunday let’s make an effort to celebrate some of those traditions. Why not go back to visit your ‘mother’ church – perhaps the one you were christened in or the one you were brought up in? If that’s too far away, then come to one of our local churches and bring all the family.
There will be a special Mothering Sunday Family Service at both St. James the Great Long Marston and St Peter’s Welford on 26th March at 11am to which you are all invited.
For some of us, we can say thank you to our earthly mother for all they have done for us. But all of us can think back over our life and embrace in our hearts everyone who has helped us on our journey – perhaps other family members, friends, teachers, youth leaders or members of other churches.
This Mothering Sunday, let’s give thanks to God for all who have been good and influential in our lives. Below is a prayer you may want to say:
Thank you for mums and children and for all the joy of family life.
Thank you for all those many people who have been instrumental in my life.
(you may want to pause and think of those people)
Be with those who are grieving because they have no mother;
Be close to those who are struggling because they have no children;
Be near to those who are sad because they are far apart from those they love.
Let your love be present in every home,
and help us all to have eyes to see
and ears to hear the needs of all those we come into contact with. Amen