On Mothering Sunday we often get wrapped up in the people we identify as ‘mum’ or ‘grandma’ or other such caregivers that have had a biological or legal duty towards us. Advertisements and supermarkets would have us believe that this time is simply a well placed day to spoil mum with fresh spring flowers and other such frippery. But some people may no longer have a mum, grandma, aunty etc. These people may have passed away or they may have been left behind for one reason or another. And I cannot adequately sum up the sense of loss that this might bring.
But I would say that does not mean you are no longer ‘mothered’.
The memory of those people and how they have shaped you is a lasting legacy to them. Their teaching, guidance and love for you will have influenced you as you have grown. Just as the love, guidance and wisdom sent from our Lord will continue to influence and shape you as you continue to grow in his love.
Whilst I agree that it is right to thank and give thanks for those that look after us, I much prefer to think of today as a celebration of love. Motherly love, yes, but beyond that, to love in all its forms. In its earthly form in our love for one another and in its heavenly form, the love of our God, towards us, the children.
If we think deeper into what we mean by ‘mother’ and look beyond our relatives, caregivers and even beyond the female persona. You can easily start to identify the ways in which our God mothers us. ‘Mum’ is special and whoever you most identify in this role will always have a place in your heart. But if we take the time to add our God into that special place too, then we will always carry his devotion and love with us.
We see mothering in so many places where there is nobody who is obviously ‘mum’. Our Gospel reading is one such example, where we hear how Pharaoh’s daughter takes on Moses.
If we take the time to look for this love then you will see it all around. These are our ways of showing God’s love to one another. God’s love is a love that is sacrificial. At this time of year, as we approach Easter we can identify this sacrifice in the example of Jesus. He shows that we are so loved, he is prepared to die for us and at Easter that is made very clear with his crucifixion.
We are all part of God’s family. He is devoted to us as his children and we in turn should be able to embrace all God’s children and welcome them with a love which is ‘motherly’. I pray that as we leave here today, we do so with the intention of giving thanks for those who have shown love to us. And as we go about our lives this week let us pray that we will show motherly love to all God’s children in the same way that he does.
Rev’d Peter Reiss