Friday 8 March 2013

Mothering Sunday

Sunday next, the fourth Sunday of Lent, is traditionally designated Mothering Sunday when we celebrate and honour mothers. You will have fond memories of your own dear mother even though many years may have passed. The bond between mother and child is the strongest one could have, and many mothers have made momentous sacrifices and gone through agonising times on behalf of their children. Nothing that we could say or write would be adequate to express the emotion we feel for our mothers.

When Mothering Sunday was decreed as a special event it was way back nearly 400 years, and at a time when most people went to Church, and on this day all people were encouraged to attend their Mother Church where they had been baptised. Processions would be held with flags and banners being carried, even girls in ‘service’ would be allowed time off to visit their mothers

In 1914, the then America President Woodrow Wilson, passed an Act of Congress instituting the second Sunday in May to remember mothers in the United States, and termed it in the more common term of Mothers Day, a title now avidly adopted in the commercial worlds which sees what was a reverent and devotional event into a money making one.

In to-day’s world motherhood is demeaned by some politicians who see it as a chore and a restriction on women. In the phobia to eradicate any difference in the sexes there is the crazy desire to make both sexes act, dress and behave in the same way, which has been the subject of aggressive campaigning to make all alike in the idolatry of equality. This ignores the creation plan of God to give women the special gift of care and gentleness to enable them to be mothers. This ignores the fact that if God had wanted all of us to be the same He was quite capable of doing so.

Whilst not always the case, especially in today’s society, women tend to be less violent and more caring, which is why God made them different to men so to be mothers. For centuries women in many ways acted in a superior way to men, but in the name of equality stepped down, failing to realise one can be perfectly equal yet different.

No other religion treats women with such respect as Christianity. They are not required to submit to regulations of men relating to dress or conduct. The emancipation of womanhood began and it ends with Christianity. It all started when a young Jewish girl received an angelic message of the incredible news that of all the women on earth, she was to become the mother of the world’s Saviour. She would be remembered at every evening service in the Anglican Church through all ages, and her name would be forever embedded in history.

Her son Jesus would one day teach a way of life when women would be given a new place in society and accorded a new dignity, so that mothers would always be respected and loved.
In the Christian world we remember Mary and how our Lord honoured motherhood, showing concern for His mother when in suffering such pain on the Cross.

The Bible is full of women who have set a glorious example of dedication and love. The mother of Moses was prepared to let an Egyptian princess bring up her son rather than having him killed. Hannah faced humiliation for a Jewish woman for not having a child; she prayed to God and was rewarded with a son, who would spend his life dedicated to God’s service.

Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘no nation is greater than its mothers for they are the makers of men.’ Jewish Rabbis would say God can’t be everywhere so He made mothers.’

There should be concern for young women bringing up children in a world where moral values have largely collapsed, often without any husband to assist. Theirs is a huge responsibility, having gone through a tortuous mental period to bear the child, they have the worry of seeing it through infancy, and later go out into a world where temptations abound.

The Bible tells of a mother pleading with Jesus at the foot of the Cross for special favours for her sons James and John. How many mothers would today make prayers for their sons just to know about Jesus? Many mothers want their children to win the X factor competition, be a pop star or be able to make money double quick. Mothers (and fathers) will take their children to all kinds of activities on a Sunday, but very few will take them to Church. We older people were either taken or sent to Sunday School, and our lives were enriched because of that.

At every baptism service it is asked of parents to pray for their child and by example draw them into the family of the Church. They all say they will without having the slightest intention of doing either. Imagine how full the Churches would be if all parents honoured their vows.

Spiritual matters should be of concern to mothers. When my two sons were growing up my then occupation meant I spent many hours away from home and much care fell upon my wife. It is to her credit that both entered the ordained ministry, after being youth leaders at our local parish Church, and have become very successful Vicars. I know it can be difficult with boys, but things could be to everyone’s benefit if children were led into a Church activity.

Most mothers want their child to succeed in life and will often go to great lengths to achieve this, but the modern child is brought up in a home without any religion, despite living around beautiful Churches. Most responsible parents want their child to be honest and live decent lives; they have some vague idealism as to what that means, but without Christian education given into young lives we can have no real assurance, for there is no foundation on which to build.

Schools make no effort in teaching religion, unless it is a private school, and parents often have neither the time nor will to do so. Children are a gift from God, which demands the need for them to know God’s Word, to know Jesus came into this world to lead and guide to a wonderful life, to the extent of giving His own life for the forgiveness of our wrongdoing, yet political correctness has taken Christianity out of both school and home.

The Bible story is of parents taking their children to have a living relationship with God. Today many parents consider it the duty of the state, or any established body, to look after their children, and the idea of reading Bible stories to them is so ridiculous as to merit no further consideration.

Bearing a child demands the mother giving much of her self and life. As we saw with the mother of James and John it often extends into manhood. If we accept Mothering Sunday properly it will mean being at Church to give thanks for life and the giving of life, and not just an occasion to post sentimental cards, giving fancy presents, and filling the pockets of already wealthy business men and women

Be at Church on Sunday and God bless you.

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