Vicar's Message- 5th March 2021
Last year I recorded the Mothering Sunday service in the Lady Chapel. It was the first service I recorded for YouTube and the only Sunday service to be
recorded in the church (without congregation) before the Archbishops ordered the churches to be closed. By the time we get to Mothering Sunday this year 135 services will have been recorded (and are all still available to watch on YouTube). As Mothering Sunday marks the first anniversary of the pandemic restrictions it seemed appropriate to use some of the texts and prayers for that day in this Coronacle. There are many different ways of approaching Mothering Sunday, but this year I have been thinking of the motherhood of God. We may more commonly refer to God as father but, as the text from Isaiah and the
eucharist prayer attest, God is also our mother. Perhaps we focus more on God as father because that is what Jesus called God – abba, father. But to do so at the expense of ignoring the more feminine terms is something of an oversight. In Isaiah and the psalms the mothering aspects of God are spoken of in terms of care and compassion – the psalms speak of God as a mother hen gathering her chicks under the security of her wings. The alternative collect for
Mothering Sunday refers to God as ‘careful’, not in the sense of reticent or not taking risks but of watching over, paying attention – being full of care.
Over the past year, as a nation, we have learned much about ourselves. Many have reported an increase in neighbourliness – looking out for those (especially the elderly and vulnerably) who live near us. One newspaper
commented that the fundraising walker Capt. Tom reminded us of values that we had almost lost.
The Mothering Sunday collect reminds us that God holds us in the palms of his hands all the days of our lives. Even through the darkest days of the pandemic God has held us in his hands. Throughout the pandemic people have shown motherly care for those in isolation… collecting and delivering shopping and many other essential acts of neighbourliness. In these actions we are not only held in God’s hands but hold others also. We live out in our lives the
motherhood of God in all the acts of compassion, kindness, care, and
neighbourliness. I hope that this is something that will not be lost when the pandemic wanes.