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Mothering Sunday

Happy Mother’s Day!

Don’t panic if you are in the USA or other countries, you haven’t missed something; your Mother’s Day is in May. Today is Mother’s Day in the UK. We have a special prayer to share with you, wherever you are. 

Thank you Jesus for the ladies ……. Amen!

Whilst lots of people will enjoy the secular celebration of mothers and motherhood that is not actually what today has historically been about. Since the Middle Ages, Mothering Sunday has been a day to honour mother churches – the church where one was baptised and became a ‘child of the church.’

Mothering Sunday is on the fourth Sunday in Lent and coincides with Laetare Sunday, also called Mid-Lent Sunday or Refreshment Sunday, so it is a day of respite from fasting halfway through the season of Lent. The lectionary readings for that day date back as far as the 8th century and have inspired some of the traditions associated with Mothering Sunday.

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 

Medieval people began to make processions to their local ‘mother church’ on the day. The tradition continued after the English Reformation as people returned either to the church where they were baptized, or their local parish church, or the nearest cathedral. Anyone who did this was commonly said to have gone ‘mothering.’ Going back to their home church inevitably meant visiting with their families and in later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church and families. 

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.John 6: 1-14

The story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand was connected to a pause from fasting in the middle of Lent. And so various types of cakes and treats have become part of the Mothering Sunday tradition. Like Simnel Cake which is a rich fruit cake made with raisins, currants and sultanas and a layer of marzipan (almond paste) through the middle as well as on top). And Mothering Buns which are plain yeast-leavened buns, iced, and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and eaten for breakfast on that day.

For me, Mothering Sunday is an opportunity to give thanks to God and remember the journey of my faith. I process back to my mother church in my mind because I can’t go there in person (even if I was on the right side of the Atlantic, the church no longer exists.) I remember the story and the place of my baptism. I bring to mind all the spiritual mothers in my life who have helped to disciple me. Some of them are now part of the great cloud of witnesses in glory and I look forward to thanking them one day. I send messages to all my spiritual daughters to remind them that I am praying for them as spiritual mothers and the best gift they give to their children is showing them Jesus.  And I give special thanks to my own Mum who has been, and remains, my greatest prayer warrior. 

Wherever you are in the world today, perhaps you could pause and give thanks for all the people and places that God has used to help you along your faith journey. Maybe there are some people you need to connect with to say thank you. Or perhaps someone who needs your encouragement. Follow the prompting of the Spirit on this Mothering Sunday to bless and be blessed as you give thanks. 

Samantha is an Inspire Missioner living in the UK and the USA, and proud Nanna to Malachi who shared his special prayer with you.

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