Friday 9 March 2018

Today is Mothering Sunday a significant occasion in the church calendar when we still remember with fondness our dear mothers no matter neither how old we now are nor how many years have passed since they were last with us. No words can adequately describe that unique emotion we feel for our mothers.

This morning you heard the banns read out for two couples who are planning to get married here, young people looking forward to beginning a new life together;we wish them every blessing and happiness. I can relate to them particularly today. Olive and I were married on this date. We met as teenagers at our local Church, where better to meet, as the Bible states two people of faith have a strong foundation for marriage. Despite some setbacks we have been richly blessed by God, proving that those who trust in the Lord will be blessed.

So let us think about marriage, which the Bible sees as a prelude to family life and motherhood.

Marriage was intended to be a sacred religious ceremony to be celebrated before God in Church, men and women giving a promise to live faithfully together until death parted them, although now for too many it is until we get fed up with each other. As one girl said, ‘I took him for better or worse, but I didn’t know how bad his worse was.

This is why couples when they meet should properly understand each other and proceed judiciously. They say love is blind, but marriage is an eye opener.

A young Minister asked his bishop for advice in finding the right kind of a wife and was told, ‘find a woman who is pretty, prudent and with private means, and preferably in reverse order.’

Marriage is a solid foundation for the bringing up of children, who are a key factor in God’s intention for marriage. God intended men and women should have children, which means having a father and mother. (male and female) Children need both for a balanced upbringing and to receive the benefit of both characters in their lives. Family meant husband, wife and children. This is the ideal which cannot be attained by two people of the same sex.

People with limited intelligence call you homophobic if you disagree with same sex marriage; it is the word ‘marriage’ that offends, and we are all supposed to give our unqualified support. If you don’t you get abused, such is the new definition of free speech. I was prevented from taking a funeral because one family member knew my views on marriage; and spitefully objected.

The first marriage was performed by God; it was the first institution established. God never meant that we were to break up. Only death can part us. It is for life, it is for keeps. And God says only one thing can break the marriage vow and that is adultery. The Bible teaches absolute fidelity on the part of both husband and wife, but is recognised some marriages become unsustainable through abuse and I believe a compassionate God would be merciful.

It has been written ‘woman was made not out of man’s head to rule over him, not out of his foot to be trampled on, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, near to his heart to be loved’.

When two people appear together at Church for the wedding service, they pledge their faithfulness to each other and there is the giving of a ring(s). The ring has no break, no ending, signifying unending love. The ring is made of gold, precious and for longevity. This is what God intended.

In the days of Henry Ford, the car magnate, someone asked him to what formula he attributed his successful marriage. He said, "The same formula as the making of a successful car: stick to one model."

Motherhood is a special privilege and a sacred task. The great American President Lincoln once stated that no nation was greater than its mothers for they are the makers of men. 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.

God made man and 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, equal in every respect but not the same, 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. This is why He made Adam and Eve, not Bill and Harry or Sharon and Tracy.

Most men if honest would concede how their wife has been of much help, mine certainly was. When I was a Vicar, Olive attended every service I took, for the first thirty years whilst she was fully well and not being one who liked the limelight, preferred to be amongst the congregation, getting her hands dirty when required and generally sharing in, and was very popular. People who wanted me to know something, but didn’t want to tell me directly, would use her as a means of communication, and she would tell me who needed attention and help, in addition of course to telling me in a prudent way what I shouldn’t have said and done and what I should have. I accept it doesn’t always turn out so well, but if I tell you Olive comes from the nation’s most exciting and vibrant city where girls are special, you will immediately know I am speaking of Livepool. She almost met the bishop’s criteria in being pretty, prudent, but alas not of private means.

The emancipation of women began when a young Jewish girl was told she would be the mother of the Saviour of the world. She would ever be the only woman to wear the red rose of maternity with the white rose of virginity. Her son, our Lord, would later bestow on women a respect and dignity no man could challenge. Ever since wherever Christianity has existed women have been respected and adored.

It was not until the 20th century in the perverted name of progress and so called equality, surrendered much respect by adopting the coarsest practice of men and even excelled in doing so.

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. A child taught biblical values has a sure foundation which can guide him/her throughout their life.

I think of the fact that my mother believed in God in her simple way, and took me to church. She never sent me to church, she took me to church, and that puts something in the character of children, I still went with my mother to the city’s Cathedral into my teenage years. Mothers continue to care and worry for their children even when they reach adulthood. We have numerous examples of godly mothers in the Bible as an example for us to follow such as the mother of James and John who sought favour for them from Jesus, Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth Salome, and of course above all Mary the mother of Jesus.

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 and his dying on the Cross so our sins can be forgiven; taught that only by believing in Jesus can we get to heaven; told of Biblical characters even in the homes of whatever class of home. We must be one of the most pagan nations, where religion is a no go area for so many young people. In the United States, where they unashamedly do God, and most people have faith, young people are showing a real desire for Christianity. We import much from America; if only we could include Christianity.

If the mothers of this nation do not resist the onslaught of the perverse and aggressive secularist agenda, which is to destroy the family ideal, we face a bleak future.

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.

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 richly bless all mothers, and give them the wisdom and the desire to teach their children of Jesus Christ.

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