Sermon – 22nd March 2020

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Fourth Sunday of Lent – Mothering Sunday

Sunday 22nd March 2020

As public worship has been suspended in a bid to limit the spread of the Coronavirus the service for Mothering Sunday was recorded and made available online. That can be found here.

Lent 4
1 Samuel 1.20-28
Luke 2. 33-35

Revd Preb Maureen Hobbs

Maureen Hoobs

The current crisis is not all bad news – even though it seems like we are living through apocalyptic times! The Environment is taking a much needed rest as our human activity – all over the world – is being curtailed. What is inconvenient for us, may be the saving of our Planet! And if it breaks our addiction to air travel and endless business meetings, then maybe some good will come of it!

The other bit of good news, has been the blossoming of human compassion (panic buying notwithstanding!). I have been overwhelmed by the number of people in our community who have come forward with offers of help for their neighbours.

And what is happening in Pattingham and Burnhill Green is being replicated across the country. Communities are rediscovering what it is to be dependent on each other.

Rediscovering our mothering, nurturing nature; demonstrating our deep seated instincts for compassion and love.

And it is these instincts that we celebrate today – particularly those of us who can be with our mother today – but also for those who cannot be close or who can only celebrate the memory of a mother.

And these instincts are not only alive in those who have had children of their own, but are equally strong in those who will never carry or give birth to a child.

The two mothers we remember in our readings today, knew what it was like to have to give up a child. Hannah only had care of her son for four years, before he went to be ‘apprenticed’ to the priest, Samuel. From then on, she would see him only once a year and we may well imagine her heartache, even if she was proud of her son too.

And Mary, who right from the moment of her child’s conception understood that there was something very special about him and who was warned by Simeon that ahead would be both joy and sorrow for her. She too must have known heartache and parental pride combined as she saw her son grow into the man that God intended him to be and fulfil that role to the bitter end.

So as we mark Mothering Sunday in our journey through Lent, this year above all, let us reflect on our calling to love, to nurture, to care, to find that which is creative and abundant so that children of all ages might find their hearts leap.

Once upon a time this was the Sunday when everyone returned to worship in their ‘mother’ church. This year you cannot come together in Mother Church but we can – through our prayers and through our posies, reach out to you.

We celebrate and give thanks for you. And even if this year there is anxiety and uncertainty, still the promise of spring in the middle of Lent is part of our gospel of hope.