St Thomas Blog

Sermon on Mothering Sunday

Sunday 22nd March 2020
Rev Sarah Cumming

Rev Sarah delivered this sermon today in the parish church - for the first time without a congregation. But you don't need to miss out - read her message below in our new blog today.
Or listen to it by using this link
Don't forget to leave a comment as we'd love to hear from you!

Mothering Sunday 2020
Pray: may I speak in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
How are you doing?
How do you feel about Mothering Sunday?
Mothering Sunday can be one of those days which reaches to our core; for some people it will bring to the surface feelings of loss and heartache. For others, it is the cancellation of a Mothers' Day meal or family gathering which has been a real blow and one of many unwelcome effects of the coronavirus restrictions.
I wonder how you are feeling?
One of the things which unites us is that we have, at least at the very start of our lives, a mother somewhere. So today to consider a few very different women within Scripture, and suggest what we can learn from their example.
The lectionary readings give different perspectives on the role of women in raising a child. Moses was born at a time when his people were forced into hard labour.
Moses mother, looks at her baby boy and sees that he is 'good', the same word used by God as he gazes upon creation. She acts with courage, concealing the child and then making a basket in which to place him. She follows the king's instructions to the letter, as she launches the baby boy into the River Nile, but he is protected by her skill in making a waterproof basket and by her love and ingenuity. Other women step forward to save this baby. Pharaoh's daughter and Moses's own sister will step in.
What is the cost here? Moses' mother chose to push her son into the reedbeds of the River Nile rather than seeing him killed. She placed him into the uncertainty of the quick flowing waters. Then once he is weaned, she will leave him in the hands of her people's oppressor.
Yet, eventually her children will be united as one of the most remarkable families of Scripture - Moses, Aaron and Miriam. The leaders who will guide the Israelites through the desert, speaking words of prophecy over them until the people reach the Promised Land.
The words of John's Gospel tell of another mother, Mary, as she watches Jesus gasp for breath upon the cross. The words spoken by Jesus: 'Woman, here is your son', and 'Here is your mother' are often taken as ensuring the ongoing care of Mary. Yet it also provides support for the beloved disciple, perhaps recognising his own need for a mother.
I wonder who has fulfilled this role for you? Looked out for you? Offered support and somewhere safe to rest in difficult times? My experience is that sometimes people do not know how crucial they have been. Perhaps today is the day to thank them.
What about us? In these uncertain and challenging days, how are we to 'be' as a church when meeting together is discouraged?
St Paul's letter to the Colossians gives us some clues. We are to continue to be a community of worship and thanksgiving, to forgive one another and let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. The word 'peace' here means doing what we can to create a world which is how God says it should be: a world which is 'good' just as God declared over creation and Yocheved spoke over her son.
We can't meet together at the moment, but we can continue to live as the people of God in our community. We can continue to offer support to each other and those we know.
We can be confident that this season will pass. We hope that Moses' mother saw her children draw their people out of oppression towards the Promised Land. We know that Mary, Jesus' mother, lived through the dark hours of her son's death, to know of his resurrection and to see the early church filled with the love and joy of the Holy Spirit. This will pass. Whatever our feelings about this day, and about the past, our hope is in a certain future as beloved children of God.