22/3/20 Lent 4, Mothering Sunday

Please use the following for your own prayer and praise either on Sunday or at some point during the week.

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us.

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;

hold not your peace at my tears.

Pray the collect:

God of love, passionate and strong, tender and careful: watch over us and hold us all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The readings,

Exodus 2:1-10

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

John 19:25-27

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Reflection

The reading from Exodus reminds us of the sanctity of life. Jochebed, the mother of Moses, in placing her baby in the basket, is choosing to give life a chance. She cannot know the outcome, she only knows that the alternative is that her son will surely die as Pharaoh had ordered that all the boys born of the Hebrew slaves must be killed. She has to effectively orphan her child which must have been a painful choice. Moses, a Hebrew, is rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, and Egyptian. The episode teaches us that protection of life should transcend divisions between us whether they be differences in ethnicity, culture or faith. Here we have God uniting two families of people who were really enemies of one another with the Hebrews enslaved to the Egyptians. This beautiful and memorable story illustrates that valuing life should triumph over differences.

For many mothers then and now then giving up a child is a painful heart-breaking experience and the reasons behind it are many. Then there is the other side, those who adopt children who for whatever reason cannot stay with their mother and those who also foster children in the short or longer term.

Motherhood comes in these different forms – not purely the biological but also those who become the mothers of children so engagingly illustrated in this reading.

Wider still there may have been people in your life who in many ways acted as your mother – people who nurtured you and fed your growth when you were young. Motherhood and indeed family life often extends beyond the biological link.

In the gospel we hear of Jesus looking down from the cross to his mother, Mary, and John his beloved disciple. From the cross through his sacrifice he is making it possible for people to have a right relationship with God, but also to know hope and security in life now.

Here is your son…here is your mother.

It’s beautiful verse. His mother, a widow, is about to lose her eldest Son. Who is to look after her now? Not it seems a biological relation, as Jesus had biological brothers and sisters, instead someone outside of the immediate family, to a trusted friend, who is now to adopt Mary as his mother, to care for her.

In this time of great crises then the need to look after one another as though they were our own family is readily apparent to all of us. I hope you are all aware of the volunteer scheme set up by Lavant Parish Council and Lavant Churches to respond to those in need. Please do offer your help if this is possible and indeed please do ask for help. Here is your son...here is your mother. We are united as the body of Christ and if any of our number suffer then we all suffer. But equally if anyone is blessed through an act of kindness then we are all blessed.

A time of prayer

All seeing, all knowing God I call on you today. May your Spirit give your world a sense of calm and peace in these difficult times.

On this Mothering Sunday, we pray for all mothers. Those with us and those who now know eternal life. We remember all those who would have liked to have children but for whatever reason could not. We give thanks for all those who have cared for us like a mother just as Jesus cares for us today.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for your church across the world in this time of uncertainty: For those people who are worried about leaving their home and those who cannot. For those needing to make decisions in order to care for others. We pray for all those who work in our health services.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

At a time of great need so we ask your blessing on all those who are guiding decisions at this time. For scientists, health professionals, politicians, our Queen and government and all who are maintaining our services at his time.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

now take some time for your own prayer and for any individuals you would like to offer up to the Lord at this time.

Holy God, present with us now, guide me in all I do and say that it might reflect your love for the world. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father ……

Conclusion

May Christ, who bore our sins on the cross, set us free to serve him with joy.

Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.