Thank you for connecting with us via this blogpost on Mothering Sunday. Although we are not able to meet physically in the church building today, we can meet spiritually as we engage with some material that we have put together. You can choose to follow today’s service booklet and/or read the reflection below. We have also added a few links to access hymns, songs and other resources, which you might like to explore.
A National Call to Prayer: Light a Candle of Hope
Wherever you are in the world, you are invited to join us in prayer to see an end to the Coronavirus pandemic. Light a candle at 7pm today (Sunday 22nd March) in the window of your home as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.
Keep us, good God,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus. Amen.
A Reflection by Henriette Howarth
The lives of all of us have been interrupted one way or another by the Coronavirus. As a result, we have lost a sense of ‘normality’. It is good to take a moment to try and imagine what this looks like for other members of our congregation and community: doctors and nurses and other key workers feel more pressure and risk, families need to negotiate a new way of being at home together, those who live alone may feel more isolated, those with small or big businesses may face severe financial loss, people may fear they will loose their job, those who are ill and elderly may find that access to the usual health services will change and be limited, families with few resources may go hungry, children miss out on education and food, long desired for holidays are being cancelled, students have come back home with university closures. We hear all of this over the news but maybe it feels different and more real when we try to put faces to it of those we know. And as we do that let’s pray for one another.
The way we are church together at St Paul’s is changing too as we won’t be meeting physically for a while. Bishop Nick Baines has encouraged us not to use the expression ‘social distancing’ but ‘physical distancing’ because we can still connect socially and need to do so more now. Why not pick up the phone and ring another congregation member or a neighbour just to connect. We can also connect spiritually by praying for one another.
Today is Mothering Sunday and we celebrate that the church is like a mother where people come home to and find shelter. We cannot do this at the moment as a building, but we can continue to do that as a community of people looking out for one another. During Lent we reflect on the story of Jesus’ suffering. One of the last scenes of his life is him crucified and looking with compassion on his mother Mary and his friend John standing by the cross. We can imagine they are both crying out with grief and pain as they see their son and friend suffer and die. Even in this moment of pain, Jesus asks them to look after each other as if they are family. The present health crisis is going to show up cracks in our society. We will see people (and ourselves) behaving selfishly and fearfully. But it also offers opportunities. We can choose to care more deeply, trust more radically and to live our lives differently and make some of the changes which we have been wanting to implement for a while.
God is the same loving God he was before this all kicked off. He loves us like a Mother and will not leave us or forsake us.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever. Amen.
Follow the link for lectionary based children’s resources aimed at 5-11 years to be used during March. These resources can be printed out and used at home on a weekly basis by those who wish to do so.