Mothering Sunday – Not easy for everyone.

Luke 2:33-35 New International Version (NIV)

Mothering Sunday not easy for everyone33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him.34 Then Simeon blessed them
and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

If there had have been a mothering Sunday when Jesus was alive I wonder how Mary would have felt? There is a saying that you shouldn’t outlive your own child but Mary did and this reading prophesised the hurt and devestation she would feel when Jesus was only a baby.


I wonder if she was constantly waiting for it to happen, or whether she just forgot the words of wise Simeon?

While Jesus was on the cross I wonder if she remembered what she had been told?

Mothering Sunday isn’t easy for everyone.

· It isn’t easy for those that cannot have children.

· It isn’t easy for those that have lost children.

· It isn’t easy for those who don’t have contact with their children.

· It isn’t easy for those who are in foster care.

· It isn’t easy for those who are estranged from their mothers.

· isn’t easy for those whose mothers have died.

For a large part of society Mothering Sunday or Mothers’ Day as it has become is NOT easy.

So, why do we have it?

In 1600 there was a decree that the church should celebrate all mothers, as well as the Virgin Mary on the 4th Sunday in Lent. Before that time it was a day to celebrate the ‘Mother Church’ and honour the Virgin Mary.

Then as time progressed it became a time to celebrate or return to the mother church. The place where you were baptised, and this became a Lenten holiday.

A time where young maids or servants who worked away from home were allowed a Sunday off to return home to their family and to attend their ‘mother church’. As they walked back home they would pick flowers for their mothers. Mothering Sunday also became known as ‘refreshment Sunday’ due to the fact that you didn’t have to continue with your Lenten fast. Simnell cake became associated with Mothering Sunday it is a rich fruit cake with marzipan though the middle and on top. With eleven balls of marzipan on top and flowers. The eleven balls represented the disciples minus Judas ofcourse.

Even though the tradition of Mothering Sunday had gone on for centuries the tradition almost disappeared in the 1920/30’s but during World War 11 it was revived as the American soldiers based here miles away from home missing their families. In America they had their own celebration of ‘Mother’s Day’ different to ours but it became merged with our own Mothering Sunday and to this day the two still stand as one.

Today, family still live far away from one another and it is still traditional for families to gather together and for children to bring gifts, flowers and cards.

People still go to church to celebrate Mothering Sunday, and in most churches children make posies to give to all the ladies in the church – regardless of whether they have children or not.

There are so many resources on the net for children’s workers that you can pick and choose.

My favourite sites are listed below:

·ichild is a friendly downloadable site that offers cards, bookmarks and badges.

· Barnabas in churches, offers a variety of crafts to make

· Activity village has lots of nice pictures of the crafts they offer and good instructions.

I hope you all have a very happy and blessed mother’s day and I will pray for those of us who find it difficult.

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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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