On 11th March (the 4th Sunday of Lent) it will be ‘Mothering Sunday’, but as I am sure you know it has no direct connection to the American version of ‘Mother’s Day’! However, if you may be unfamiliar with the differences between the two, you might find the following background interesting (courtesy of the Church of England website):
The origin of Mothering Sunday stems from centuries ago, when it was considered important for people to return to their home or ‘mother’ church once a year. So, each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their ‘mother’ church – the main church or cathedral of the area. Inevitably the return to the ‘mother’ church also became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away (quite common in those days) returned home. Most historians think that it was the return to the ‘Mother’ church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family. As they walked along the country lanes, children would pick wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother as a small gift…….
On Sunday 11th March it will be lovely to celebrate our popular Mother’s Day in the usual ways that we do for our Mother’s: tea in bed, write a card, give some flowers and for dad to cook the lunch?!; and we will of course remember and give thanks for mother’s we have loved, but are no longer with us.
We will celebrate Mother’s Day, but what can we do to also celebrate Mothering Sunday? Well if you haven’t been to church for a while you would of course be welcome back at your home church as Mothering Sunday was originally all about. St Peter’s Mothering Sunday Service is at 9.15am, and other local service times are listed on pages 8 and 9. And what will you experience if you go? You can be sure of a warm welcome, but also, I hope of something more. In life it is increasingly difficult to find our way forwards in a confusing world, but in the going back we can re-discover valuable things we maybe have forgotten to help us get our bearings begin to find our way again: the love of family, the love of a mother and father; the love of the local church for its local community; and the love of God who loves us perfectly even when our family love might not have been perfect. ‘Going Back’ and ‘Looking Back’ to truthful and valuable things is often I think the best thing we can do to move forwards and find our way in the present.
With my prayers and blessings for March and Mothering Sunday*
Revd James Hunt
Rector St Peter’s Bishops Waltham and Blessed Mary Upham
*If you can come to St Peter’s on Mothering Sunday, there will be posies prepared by our Mothers Union and some ‘Simnel Cake’ to try with a cup of coffee. If you ‘Google it’ you will find out what it is!
1st March 2018