Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 26-27
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
I always had to be careful buying a card for my mother on Mothering Sunday, and to advise the grandchildren likewise. Mum was quite adamant that it was ‘Mothering Sunday’ and not ‘Mother’s Day’ and that cards should reflect this. Whilst Grandchildren could never do anything wrong, a ‘Mother’s Day’ card was best avoided!
Mother’s Day is an American invention commemorating the work and suffering of mothers. It began in the mid nineteenth century and became an official holiday in 1914.
Mothering Sunday, by contrast, dates back to the eighth century as a celebration of ‘The Mother Church’. In the middle ages it became a day when daughters and sons working away from home ‘in service’ were allowed to go home for the day, to visit their mother church and consequently their mothers.
By focussing only on mothers, the emotions of ‘Mother’s Day’ can be very mixed; joyful for those with good relationships with children and mothers, but excluding women without children, painful for those who have lost children or mothers, or whose relationships have broken down, and difficult for all who are separated by distance and by circumstance.
On the other hand, by focussing on the Mother Church which is ‘The Body of Christ’, rather than the actual building, we have a place where we can share our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our disappointments, a place where we all suffer with those who suffer, and all rejoice with those who rejoice.
As Christians we are all part of The Body of Christ, and we all have a role to play, women and men, girls and boys, in the nurture and support of each other, according to the gifts that God has given each of us, whether they are practical, emotional or spiritual.
This ‘Mothering Sunday’ let us be thankful for all who make up our ‘Mother Church’, sharing the sorrows and the joys with those who suffer and with those who rejoice.
Thank you Father God, for all who give us life, whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual.
Comfort those who struggle at this time through disappointment, loss or separation.
Everyone needs compassion.