Saturday 5 March 2016

Today we are celebrating Mothering Sunday which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent this having been decreed in the 17th century when most people went to Church. People would walk to Church, often to the one where they had been baptised, and some would carry flags and banners. Girls in domestic service would be given time off by their employers to visit their mothers, and some would bake simnel cakes as presents.

In the United States President Woodrow Wilson passed an Act of Congress in May 1914 that the 2nd Sunday in May would be known as Mothers Day for the public expression of love and reverence for mothers. This term has been claimed in the United Kingdom rather than our understanding which emphasises the religious significance.

So let us turn to the Bible as we acknowledge the love for our mothers and as you sit here you will have fond memories of your own dear mother however many years may have passed.

The Bible states, ‘in the beginning God said it is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper for him. So the Lord God caused man to fall into a deep sleep. Then the Lord God made a woman and brought her to the man. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they shall become one flesh’. God having created the earth with all its elements and animals then created man. He then saw that man was lonely and loneliness can lead to depression. God saw that man needed a companion,

So God gave woman as man’s helper, someone who can be at man’s side who will give life more meaning, pleasure and support; someone to love and cherish. God has now made two people, man and woman, Adam and Eve.
We must accept that God knows best and when he wanted man to have a companion He made a woman as the perfect answer, someone who could complement man in every way, physically and mentally in a way other men could not, and men throughout the ages have appreciated and recognised this. God wanted to supply what was lacking in man’s life and together they could have children and create the ideal family. God planned the human heart to love, marry and have children.

Motherhood is a special privilege and a sacred duty. AbrahamLincoln once remarked that no nation is greater than its mothers for they are the makers of men. The Rabbis have a saying, ‘God can’t be everywhere so He made mothers.’

A mother's love is special and unique, and God gave woman a special and caring nature for His purpose. Today we have the ridiculous and unacceptable suggestion that children can be raised by two men after some woman, known or unknown, has provided the child by some means. An American psychologist stated a child will never come to full development psychologically without a mother in the home.
The Bible is full of stories of prominent mothers,
Jochebed the mother of Moses who let an Egyptian princess bring up Moses rather than have him killed; and this morning I just want to look at the two who featured in our readings.
Eve who was the first mother

Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth, all who waited for a miracle.

Hagar driven away and disowned.

Rebecca had to raise her children in another

Rachel wept for her children,

Naomi and Ruth who rose above all the trials of life and turned hard situations into good.

Lois and Eunice , ready to share the love of Christ with their children

In our Old Testament reading we had the story of Hannah who hurt deeply because she desperately wanted to be a mother, and in her agony she cried out to God. He answered Hannah’s prayer and she literally leant her son back to God, and she made a commitment. Hannah trusted God, and taught Samuel to worship God, rejoicing in the Lord and His salvation. We dearly need mothers to day to teach their children to worship God, preferably by bringing them to Church.

Our second mother from the Bible is of course Mary, a young Jewish girl from whom the emancipation of women began when there appeared to Mary a vision from heaven and she heard the angel’s annunciation of the news that of all the women on earth she was to be the mother of our Lord, the one woman ever to wear entwined the red rose of maternity with the white rose of virginity. Mary was ready and willing to be looked down upon by all who knew her for it was shameful for an unmarried woman to have a child in those religious times. Jesus became a baby and grew up and accorded women with a new dignity so that women like Mary have been loved and respected.
God intended them to be mothers and motherhood to be of the highest calling and endowed them with special gifts. It took the 2oth century in the so called name of progress and equality to pull women down to make them like men, and some to be of the coarsest of men.

When God made the world He intended man/woman to have different characters to fulfil different functions in life, equal in every respect but not the same.

An article in a newspaper once said that women were leaving Christianity for Islam because of the greater moral code. Whilst recognising the strict Islamic moral code, it is also a fact that no religion has greater respect for women than Christianity, and we do not enslave them in clothing or direct what they are allowed to do; the Christian code is as moral as any, it is just Christians do not adopt it.

A mother’s presence in the home is essential, and there has never been a more urgent time when good mothers are needed. I have worked in every social classes of society, but have never known a Jewish child get involved in anti-social behaviour or criminal activities. I once asked a Rabbi why he thought this was so, and he told me it was due to the control the Jewish mama has over her family.

When my two sons were growing up my then occupation required me to be away from the home for many long hours, and so much care fell upon my wife. It is to her credit that they both entered the Christian ministry after being youth leaders at their local Church.

Today they are successful Vicars at Churches of their own where they have been a powerful influence in the Churches they have served.
Spiritual matters should be of concern to mothers. Promises are made at baptism services that children will be brought up in the fellowship of the Church, although few have ever any intention of honouring the promises made.

We need women who will lead their families back to more old style morality decency and purity. Children are being brought up without any religious knowledge, knowing nothing about Jesus or Biblical characters, even in the homes of whatever class of home.

An idealism prevails as to how children should behave, but it is often in modern phraseology, ‘cool’ for a child to be sexually aware. Explicit sex education is readily given, but a distinct aversion to Christian teaching. Schools play little part in educating children in religion or conduct unless the school is a private one.

Mothers continue to care and worry for their children even when they reach adulthood, and stand by them no matter what they do and even when that is not deserved. Salome the mother of James and John sought favour for them from Jesus, to whom she prayed that Jesus would show favour on her sons;and of course above all Mary the mother of Jesus.

The Bible calls on older women who have an honoured place in society, to play a major part in guiding younger women in the bringing up of children from their years of experience. We must have concern for women bringing up children in a world where all moral values are being eroded. Theirs is a big responsibility, especially when the nation’s broadcasting system gives out such foul talk and explicit scenes that cause weaker minds to think that is the natural way of life.

Sometimes women are asked on television or radio what their occupation is, and often the reply comes, ‘only a housewife and mother’. There is nothing only, such is an honourable occupation.

At this point we ought to remember all those women who do not have children and may be feeling distress today when present of chocolates and etc are being passed. Some have chosen not to be mothers rather preferring to follow a career and contribute much to society. Other women through physical or medical reasons cannot be mothers and our prayers must be for them. We also grieve for mothers who have lost a child. Whilst we may cherish memories of our mothers some will not have such pleasant thoughts.

May God bless all mothers and those longing to be mothers.

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