Friday 28 March 2014

Mothering Sunday

This Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Lent, the day we celebrate as ‘Mothering Sunday’, the time we remember all our dear mothers. We dedicate this service to them in Jesus name and as you hear or read these words you will have fond memories of your own mother, even though many years may have passed. No words that we can say could be eloquent enough to describe how we feel about our mothers.

As long ago as the 17th century it was decided that the 4th Sunday in Lent would be designated as ‘Mothering Sunday’ and on this day all were encouraged to join in worship in their mother church, the place where they were baptised. People would once walk with banners and flags, and girls in domestic service would bake a simnel cake to show their mothers what new skills they had acquired. Many girls in service were allowed time off to visit their mothers.

In the United States President Woodrow Wilson passed an Act of Congress on 9th May 1914 declaring the second Sunday in May should be known as ‘Mothers Day’ for public expression of love and reverence for mothers. This term has been adopted in Britain as more appealing and emotional.

In the Christian context we remember Mary and how our Lord honoured motherhood, showing concern for His mother even when in agony on the Cross.

Few things give as much pleasure as families, and indeed also give as much pain. We have all had experiences of both happy and sad times, but God cares about our home situation. Today families are under sustained attack no less from politicians. The foundation for every home is the mother. Having worked in the most roughest and deprived areas as well as the most exclusive ones, I never met a Jewish child get involved in criminal activities, and that is due entirely to the control and influence of the Jewish Mama. There has never been a time when there was a greater need for good mothers, for if the home fails the country is doomed. Abraham Lincoln once said that a nation is as strong as its homes.

God intended motherhood to be of the highest calling, yet irresponsible politicians are maintaining that two men can bring up children, but a child needs both a father and mother if it is to be fully psychologically developed.

Homes are falling apart and the breakdown of family life is reflected in the breakdown of the nation’s morality. Rather than say we stay together until death do us part, it is now until we get fed up with each other, and never mind the consequences as long as we are happy in someone else’s arms. People even enter into marriage anticipating divorce. It doesn’t help when silly feminist politicians advocate women going out to work, or when this un-family friendly government favours unmarried people in the tax system.

No other religion treats women with such respect as Christianity. The emancipation of womanhood began and it ends with Christianity, whilst other religions enslave women by insisting on certain clothing, restricting the education of girls, and laying down what they are allowed to do.

All those years ago a young Jewish girl named Mary was visited by an angel who told that of all the women on earth, she would be the mother of the Saviour of the world. She meekly obeyed despite the fact that she would be ostracised for being with child when not married. The child she bore was born in humble surroundings in Bethlehem, and when He became a man would teach a way of life endorsed by God, and in which women would have a dignity and honoured place in society.

The Bible is full of women who stand out and are referred to in the Anglican Marriage Service. Elizabeth, the one to announce the coming of Jesus; Hannah who offered her son to God; the mother of Moses who rather than have her son killed allowed him to be brought up by an Egyptian princess; and numerous others.

This country so much needs young women who will once again teach their children the morality of yesteryear, they have an enormous responsibility. Many mothers will go to endless lengths to secure a good school for the children, and that is to be applauded, but an academic education needs to be supplemented with ethical and moral standards, especially when so much pressure is put upon them to act as they see fit.

The modern child is so often brought up in decent comfortable home, but a thoroughly irreligious one. Parents have some vague idealism as to what they should know, but do not know how to give it. If children are being brought up without a Christian background we are to have a nation of pagans. Schools in the State system are in so many places staffed by teachers who have no faith and certainly no interest in teaching, even if they were able to do so.

In the New Testament the mother of James and John pleaded with Jesus for her sons, but how many today have ever mentioned praying to their family. At every baptism service all parents promise to teach the children about Christ and bring them to Church, in the majority of cases without the slightest intention of doing so, thereby denying them of a sure foundation for life.

On Mothering Sunday we remember the sacrifices mothers made to give birth, the pain and worry of pregnancy and the continued worry over the years for their welfare, and particularly for those mothers who have sons serving their country in perilous situations.

Finally we think of mother Church and pray that it will truly and faithfully serve its heavenly Father.

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