Words for Mothering Sunday at St Mary’s Whitkirk.
Mothering Sunday…what’s that all about?
…thanking Mums…breakfast in bed…taking them out to lunch…
Gosh, today’s readings seem a bit serious for that kind of day. But then maybe not…I reckon one of the most important things good Mums do is help us through the tough times. However much we argue – when things are bad – it’s often Mum we want. Good mothers sort of say ‘Look – we’ll get through this, because I’m here with you.’
That’s not a bad way of looking at mothering – bringing hope when things are tough.
Of course we can’t all be mothers; we don’t all want to be. Some of us have lost mothers; relationships with mothers aren’t always good. But ‘mothering’ – the things that good mothers do – is important…especially when things are tough – important enough for all of us to get involved.
Jesus knew that – even as he was dying on the cross. He knew once he was gone things were going to be tough for the tiny, new church. He knew some good ‘mothering’ was going to be needed. So he created a new family…with his mother and his disciples…a new place where mothering could go on. A community to bring hope when things were tough.
In church today we have members of two organisations…the Mothers’ Union and Girlguiding. I think they’re both in a way about ‘mothering’. I wonder…do those of you representing them know why they were started?
What about the Mothers’ Union?
Mary Sumner saw what a difficult job being a mother was, especially for the poor. She the problems for mothers trying to bring children up as Christians. This was 150 years ago, when women and children didn’t have the righst they have now. Things were tough – Mary Sumner wanted to bring hope that things could be better. She thought bringing mothers together would help them improve things.
From the start they based everything on prayer…but they did much more than pray. One early campaign was to raise the legal age of marriage for girls from 12 to 16. Today the Mothers’ Union is in 83 countries of the world – still nurturing families and fighting for social justice. If you go on their website, the first thing you see – in large letters – is, “Help support families displaced by war”…the Mothers’ Union – still bringing hope when things are tough.
What about Girlguiding?
Well it grew out of Scouting…when girls saw something good and wanted to be part of it. Robert Baden-Powell who started it had fought in the Boer War, and knew another war was on its way. He thought young people are really important for their country. Not necessarily to fight in war – but definitely to help when things are tough.
Does anyone know the promise?
Develop beliefs, serve community, help others…
Law…honest, reliable, helpful, faces challenges, good friend, takes care of the world.
So Girlguiding does some great ‘mothering’ – it helps girls to be part of a good future of our country. And like the Mothers’ Union – there is guiding and scouting all around the world. Young people are developing skills and confidence to help their communities – to bring hope even in difficult places.
There are even guide groups in refugee camps…a real sign of hope.
Of course the other organisation represented here this morning is the church. What’s the church here for?
We meet here week by week because we’ve discovered God’s love, because we’ve realised that following Jesus makes sense of life. But the church was never meant to be just about us who are here.
After all Jesus taught us to pray ‘your kingdom come on earth as in heaven’. God’s Kingdom come on earth…a kingdom where all people are valued equally…a kingdom built on love not on hate…a kingdom where no one feels lonely or abandoned or bullied.
Working for God’s kingdom on earth – that’s surely about bringing hope when things are tough – about some good ‘mothering’.
And although we’ve so much to be grateful for – it’s not that easy to be British at the moment. It’s hard to look to the future when we don’t really know what it will be. It’s hard living in a divided country – where people are looking for someone to blame for the mess.
‘Mothering’…bringing hope in difficult times…what might that look like for us today?
- praying for our nation – especially for its future.
- in everything we do – trying to bring people together – sharing love not hatred.
- caring for other people not because we feel sorry for them…but because we think everyone is important.
- Listening to other peoples’ ideas – even if we think we disagree. Asking about them…trying to understand…working for a future that nurtures their hopes as well as ours.
On this Mothering Sunday – let’s all, girl guides, Mothers’ Union, Christians – think about how we can bring hope in tough times.