As you all know (?!), Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Day. The day now is all about giving gifts to our mothers, including increasingly taking them out to Sunday lunch (a carvery is probably to be preferred and do look round for the best offers available e.g. free (vanilla) ice cream for mother etc). However, the day’s origins go back to people returning to their ‘mother church’ for a service on this particular Sunday – such a church being where a person had been baptised, the local parish church or the nearest cathedral. Subsequently, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mother and other family members.
Jesus fully honoured His earthly mother (and father) – in Luke 2v51 we read how, as a 12 year old, He went back with them from Jerusalem (after speaking with the teachers in the temple courts) to Nazareth “and was obedient to them”. As He died on the cross He tenderly made provision for His mother, via John (John 19v26,27).
Remarkably, however, Jesus also describes anyone who does God’s will as “My brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3v35). You may have been rejected by your family when you became a Christian. Your earthly family may have been somewhat dysfunctional. But in the Lord’s family there is great love and support, which should grow deeper day by day. RT France writes that in the Lord’s family we “find new worth, new identity and a whole new range of brothers and sisters who are committed with [us] to follow Jesus in the great adventure of the kingdom of God”. It is a great privilege and joy to be a brother, sister, a mother in His family, not just on the fourth Sunday in Lent, but every day.
Peace and Grace