Pastoral letter for Mothering Sunday

Dear Friends,

As always I wonder how you are, I am writing to you after a very busy week, listening to the wind rattling the roof tiles above my head I am aware of the wildness of the elements and my inability to control or contain them. Talking to a friend today we mused that although the government have given us a “road map” through the next few months nothing is certain.

And yet we know where we are time wise, we find ourselves at the fourth Sunday in Lent, more than half way through our journey towards Easter Day, and at a break for a feast day ( although every Sunday is actually counted as a feast day, a break in the Lenten fast so that we might not become overwhelmed). Mothering Sunday has become Mother’s Day in recent times, with flowers being given out an motherhood celebrated, which is no bad thing, but can also be a challenging thing for those who have difficult relationships with their mothers, or as mothers, humanity is often complex.

In the days of “service” my grandmother was one of those who served ( worked) in the home of the landed gentry, and would be allowed to go home on Mothering Sunday, often bearing a cake or gifts, but with the express purpose of returning to their mother church to worship ahead of Easter Day, because on Easter Day they would be required to work, serving the family they were indentured to in their celebrations. Nice social class snippet there!

That said we do pause to celebrate Mothering Sunday, and it does give us a chance to celebrate, and also to look for a different image of God, so often God is Father, and masculine, and we use dominant words like Kingdom and reign. Mothering Sunday grants us a different lens, and asks us perhaps to loo to the mother God, while still accepting that neither mother nor father is adequate for our mysterious creator who is in fact genderless, and Spirit.

So where do we find God as mother?

In creation, brooding over the deep?

 In the beginning when God created  the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God[ brooded over the face of the waters. Genesis 1: 1-2

In the mother heart of Jesus the Christ:

How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Matthew 23: 37b

There is a lot of female imagery given for God in both the Old and the New Testaments, and yet sadly it rarely finds its way into our everyday language or prayers. So I wonder, how do you relate to the God who mothers you, and what does that mean to you, is it an image that sits comfortably or uncomfortably in your thinking.

How do you respond to a nurturing creator with mothering traits?

I am aware that for some this may be unhelpful language, just in the same way that for others the metaphor of father is unhelpful and that we cannot capture or describe the divine or the eternal with language, but sometimes language is all we have. With that in mind I offer you a prayer:

Holy and eternal God
Mother us

Wrap us in your arms
of mercy,
cover us with your blanket
of grace,
Mother us.

Hold us and help us,
bind our wounds,
heal our hearts,
Mother us.

When our arms ache
with emptiness,
grief and longing,
Mother us.

When our minds race
with recriminations,
unanswered questions,
words said and unsaid,
still the storms within us,
pour your peace into
our thirsty souls,
nurture and feed us,
help us to stand
make us strong in you,
Mother us.

AMEN

So, in this week, where we turn our thought to Mothering Sunday, whatever it means for you I wish you God’s blessing, a time of quiet celebration and pray that you will find yourselves comforted by the nurturing presence of God however you encounter that in a helpful way.

As always, if you would like to talk please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Peace and blessings

Sally

About Sally C

How do I describe myself, I am not what I do, (I am a Methodist Minister), I am not who I am related to (I have 5 wonderful children, 2 lovely granddaughters and a grandson). I am a seeker truth, a partaker of life in all it's fullness and a follower, sometimes stumbling, sometimes celebrating of the Christian pathway. I seek wholeness, joy and a connectedness to all things through a deep reconciliation with the God whose love blows my socks off!
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