Saturday, March 09, 2013

Mothering Sunday

If I asked for a "job description" for mothers, I wonder what you'd come up with?
Would it be all about those shining souls whose immaculate homes, wholesome cooking and endless patience is the hall mark of – well, Hallmark Cards, actually?
Because, if so, I don't think I'm qualified for the job.
I love my children more than words can say, and I do my best to be there for them – but I just can't meet the expectations of the media, whose vision of a perfect mother is so far from my reality...

So I'm afraid that if my family depended on me for all their mothering, things would be pretty bleak. However, all is not lost....I'm pretty clear that they know how much I love them...and I know too that I'm not the only one. They've lots of special people, family and friends, who care about them deeply– but beyond even that, I know they are held in God's arms.

Paul talks of the "God of all consolation" – reminding me of the way that that those perfect mums are always supposed to be ready to "kiss it better" no matter what.
We can't always do that, specially when our children move on from grazed knees to broken hearts, but Paul tells us that God can and will - so we don't have to "mother" unaided.
Nor do we need to worry if the care that our own families can offer feels inadequate, disappointing.
Even if your experience of human family relationships has been thoroughly difficult,even destructive, God offers us real care, real love with no strings attached.

Of course, God is beyond male and female, but today I invite you to think about the motherly qualities of God …
Then think about parenting – and if you are a parent, remember how you felt when your own children were tiny.
If you loved them then, I wonder why??
Was it because they did wonderful things for you?
My guess is, probably not.
My babies were excellent at crying, at demanding feeds at horrible times of night and day, at filling nappies and a lot more besides, but I don’t remember them offering much in return in those days. But I have to say that I quite definitely loved them just because they were, and are, my children.
In the same way, God loves us because God loves us, because God loves us,
There is nothing we can possibly do to make God love us more.
There is nothing we can possibly do to make God love us less.
Each of us is Ioved, completely and fully, like a precious only child, held securely in a warm embrace.

God mothers us.

But there is more…The Gospel reading shows us a son (Jesus) who cannot be the son he'd like to be to his mother and a mother (Mary) who cannot be the mother she'd like to be to her son. The expectation of the time would have been that Jesus would have a duty to look after his mother, to care for her in old age while Mary, like any mother, would have longed to protect her child, hated to see him suffer.
But circumstances intervened.
The ideal family seems to be breaking down at the foot of the cross…
But because Jesus knows that he and Mary can't be what they would like to be to each other, he entrusts her to John, and John to her.
Together they form a new family – the church….the family we belong to too.
We are a family for each other and even if we lose our own families, or things go badly awry with those relationships, here in God’s church we should find lots of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters to support us.
Remember, if you would, all those who have offered you love and care unlooked for…then reflect that within our Christian family each of us has a responsibility to share in the mothering of the world with God, by passing on the love and care we have been so freely given.
That is part of what being Church – the Body of Christ – is about.
Today, then, we celebrate all those who mother us in all sorts of areas of our lives. Let’s thank God for them, and be on the lookout for chances to share in the work of mothering the whole world for God’s sake.

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