Rev Olwen Woolcock

Liturgy for Mothering Sunday – 14 March 2021

Liturgy for Mothering Sunday – 14 March 2021

Liturgy for Mothering Sunday  – 14 March 2021

Service Video


Order of Service

Good morning everyone. Welcome to our service for Mothering Sunday. Mothering Sunday is so much more than simply Mother’s Day. It is a celebration not only of motherhood but of mothering – which is the depth of care, love and concern that we can all offer one another – and which has been so important over the last twelve months. That is why I think we can all enter into this celebration whatever our own family circumstances.

The Lord be with you
And also with you.

GATHERING PRAYER

Heavenly Father,
we rejoice with thanks for all those who have mothered us in our lives.
In a world that is broken and in need of love,
please use us to help others as you help us
in providing comfort, nurture, protection and support.
We ask that you grow us as carers to those who need us,
so that we might celebrate your goodness together
even through our own brokenness.
Amen

HYMN: Tell out my soul….

PRAYER OF PREPARATION

God our Father, as Pharaoh’s daughter noticed the needs of a small child alone in the reeds, so help us to notice those areas of our own lives needing care and attention.

Therefore, let us confess our sins, seeking the embrace of God’s forgiveness and peace.

Space for reflection

PRAYER OF PENITENCE

 We have failed to nurture the needy,
Lord, have mercy.

We have failed to make space in our lives for the broken-hearted.
Christ, have mercy.

We struggle to forgive those who have withheld their love from us.
Lord, have mercy.

May the God of love bring us back to himself, forgive us our sins
and assure us of his eternal love in Jesus Christ our Lord.

COLLECT

God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross, drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and in sorrow
we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen

OLD TESTAMENT READING

Exodus 2:1-10

About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him.

Soon Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, and her attendants walked along the riverbank. When the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it for her. When the princess opened it, she saw the baby. The little boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This must be one of the Hebrew children,” she said.

Then the baby’s sister approached the princess. “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked.

“Yes, do!” the princess replied. So, the girl went and called the baby’s mother.

Take this baby and nurse him for me,” the princess told the baby’s mother. “I will pay you for your help.” So, the woman took her baby home and nursed him.

10 Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.”

HYMN For the beauty of the earth  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOVFvctxv6c

GOSPEL READING

John 19.25b-27

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27 Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

SERMON

A bright shiny two pence piece.  I’m going to toss it.

Heads or Tails – you never know how it’s going to land.

Heads or tails – which way up?

Motherhood – what it’s like to be a mum – the experience of being a mum – is like a coin. It has two sides and you never quite know how it’s going to land.

Is it pride or is it worry? Is it joy or is it pain? Is it fun or is it guilt?

Is it love or is it sacrifice?

Head and tails.

The upside and the down side. The benefit and the cost. Love comes with sacrifice. They’re two sides of the same coin.

Being a mother isn’t just about the good bits – it’s about the tough bits too.

We can see all this play out in the story of Moses.

The people of Israel have settled in Egypt (if you remember the story they went there in a time of famine when Joseph was Pharoah’s right hand man.)  But over the years they have grown in number and they have become a threat to the current Pharoah. He wants to limit them as a people so he decides that his soldiers will kill every new born baby boy born to the Israelites. The Hebrews.

Moses is born and his mother wants to keep him safe. She hides him for about three months but you can’t hide a baby for ever so she came up with a plan. She makes a waterproof basket and places Moses in it amongst the reeds.

She must have known where the princess and her women came to bathe.  Moses’ mum sets Moses’ sister – who is called Miriam – to look out for him and watch what happens. So, when the princess finds the baby – and feels sorry for him Miriam comes forward and suggests that she should fetch a woman to nurse him for the princess- and of course she fetches Moses’ mother.

 Moses’ mother gets to keep her baby and nurse him – because she is now doing it for the princess- and she gets paid for it. But of course, once he is a little older and no longer needs her milk then she has to give him up.

 Her love has protected the baby, her cleverness means she has kept the baby for a little longer. Her shrewdness means he is now placed in the most important family in the land, right in the princess’s lap – as it were. 

Here is the sacrifice. Moses’ mother has given him life but at the cost of letting him go.   Love and sacrifice, joy and pain, delight and guilt. You can see that all of those feelings in her story.

Mothering Sunday is about recognising the sacrifices that we make for love. All of us – but especially and particularly mothers. Over the last year we have lived through a pandemic and we are still in lockdown; the children have only been back at school for a few days. Love and sacrifice have surely been the key words of the last twelve months.

Sustaining a family over the last year has been incredibly demanding in many ways for all parents. For some the challenge has simply been about keeping the family in food, being able to provide what’s needed. For many the challenge has been about keeping spirits up when there have been no afterschool activities, no sports, nowhere to visit, no friends to mingle with and of course keeping children’s minds focussed when there has been no proper school. It Parents have been working hard to help everyone stay happy and healthy and provided for. There has been stress and anxiety. Mothers have taken their own special role in that. It has taken love and sacrifice. Two sides of the same coin.

One way that love has been shown has been through keeping others safe, just as Moses’ mother love for her baby kept him safe. And it has cost. Sacrificing what we would like to do and where we would like to be for the wellbeing and safety of those we love and indeed for the well-being of all. And as well as in families, love and sacrifice have characterised how people have approached their work, especially those who care for others. Out of love, people have put themselves at risk to keep others safe.

Love and sacrifice also run through the heart of the Christian story in the person of Jesus. This is the story we tell at Easter. Love leading to sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross out of love for us and all people – to bring us into that new relationship of grace and forgiveness that we have with God.

——————————————

Just to end. Think about that basket that Moses’ mother wove for him to sleep in- when he was in the bullrushes. A woven basket. The love and the care that people have given one another during the pandemic and the sacrifices we have made for each other have woven us together. We are connected together.

This year’s Mothering Sunday is an opportunity to recognise and honour the sacrifices that people have made for love in the last year and to specially to honour parents and in particular mothers in making those sacrifices.

Let us pray.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God,
and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

Heavenly Father,
We thank you for mothers, we thank you for families,
we thank you for belonging, we thank you for love.
Help us to live in our families in peace kindness and gentleness.
God of love,
Hear our prayer.          

We pray for our world.
We pray for families across the world who are suffering
because they have no proper homes or not enough food or no clean water
or who are suffering because of the COVID pandemic.
Help us to help them.
God of love
Hear our prayer.

We pray for children who live on the streets
who aren’t able to go to school
who have to go to work when they are too young
who are used and hurt by others.
We pray for your mercy.
God of love,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for our church
that from the youngest person to the oldest person
we will be like a big family, growing together, caring for each other,
and giving thanks for each other.
God of love,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the people in our church and in our village
who are unwell or who are finding life hard
we pray for your healing and your comfort.
And we remember the people that have died
and we pray for their families and friends who mourn them
be with them in their sadness
God of love,
Hear our prayer.


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 LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. 
Amen.

FAMILY PRAYER

Heavenly Father, we thank you for our friends, homes and families.
We ask that your love may surround us, your care may protect us,
and that we may know your peace at all times.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

HYMN: Lord of all hopefulness.

THE PEACE

God is love
and those who live in love live in God
and God lives in them.
The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

Let us hold one another in God’s peace

We pray
Thank you God for the love of our mothers:
thank you God for their care and concern;
 
thank you God for the joys they have shared for us;
thank you God for the pains they have borne for us;
thank you God for all that they give us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

BLESSING

May the Lord who brought us all to birth, strengthen us for daily life.
May the Lord who provides for all our needs sustain us day by day.
May the Lord whose steadfast love is for all,  send us out to live and work for others.
And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you always.
Amen.

HYMN   You shall go out with joy

DISMISSAL

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ.
Amen.

J. S. Bach: “Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter” aus den Schübler Chorälen (BWV 650)

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