Reflection and Sunday Service 11 March

  a green cross motif 11 March 2018

a wee reflection on the week ...
 


 

However commercialised Mothering Sunday has become, it is a day relevant to each one of us.  We all had or have mothers. For most of us it is someone for whom we give thanks for the unconditional love which helped shape and nurture us. And we all knew our mothers before we knew God, and knowledge and experience of that love helped shape our own understanding of a loving God.  There are some, of course, who did not have such a loving experience of motherhood where neglect, disappointment or even abuse was part of that experience.  We are also aware that our nurturing is only partly dependent on our mothers, but our fathers, our siblings, uncles and aunts, grandparents, school and Sunday School teachers, neighbours, friends, all played their part in our growth and development. 

Nor must we forget the midwives whose presence nursed and cajoled and pushed our mothers through the birthing process and were the first to hold us and pull us out and into the world.  And whether or not we are parents ourselves, we can all be midwives of new life.  We are called to recognise the promise of new life where it exists, and to create a maternity environment in which and into which fragile beginnings can blossom and grow. Like the gardener preparing the soil for spring, we are to be part of the creating of a world where such new life can take root find its feet and mature into fulness of life.  Whether at work, in our relationships, in family life, in politics, perhaps we can learn to be gentler in how we handle things, and yet with that secure hand of the midwife not to let go of the promise. Our role may be bringing something to birth and then letting it go that others might nourish and nurture it.  We may not know the name of the midwife who hauled us screaming into the world, but we are aware that without her experienced handling we may never have had the life we have been gifted. Our gift to the world might be to recognise the midwifery opportunities when they arise for us.
 


this sunday’s service

READINGS FOR THE WEEK

Exodus 1.15-2.10; 

Psalm 34.11-20;

2 Corinthians 1.3-7

Luke 8:19-21

Mothering Sunday is a tradition dating from the Middle Ages when young people, working in service away from home, were allowed a day off each year to go back home and visit their families. On the way they would often pick flowers from the fields and hedgerows to give to their mums. Then as a family they would attend worship in their home church, or ‘Mother Church’, to give thanks. 

We acknowledge this has been overly commercialised into Mother’s Day, and although quite appropriate to remember our mothers and the significance of mothering, it is a time to remember the mothering or caring nature of God and how that love is expressed beyond family and not just by women who have given birth.  So as we give thanks for mums today, we also remember those who are carers 24/7 such as the many schoolchildren caring for a parent and elderly people caring for spouses. 

As we worship and give thanks for our mums, for our families, for our church, let us ask God to help us be as loving and caring towards each other as God loves and cares for us.


Psalm 127:1-4     In Praise of God's Goodness

1 If the Lord does not build the house,

    the work of the builders is useless;

if the Lord does not protect the city,

    it does no good for the sentries to stand guard.

2 It is useless to work so hard for a living,

    getting up early and going to bed late.

For the Lord provides for those he loves,

    while they are asleep.

 

3 Children are a gift from the Lord;

    they are a real blessing.

4 The sons a man has when he is young

    are like arrows in a soldier's hand.

Amen.

 

Exodus 1:15 - 22

15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to Shiphrah and Puah, the two midwives who helped the Hebrew women. 16 “When you help the Hebrew women give birth,” he said to them, “kill the baby if it is a boy; but if it is a girl, let it live.” 17 But the midwives were God-fearing and so did not obey the king; instead, they let the boys live. 18 So the king sent for the midwives and asked them, “Why are you doing this? Why are you letting the boys live?”

19 They answered, “The Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they give birth easily, and their babies are born before either of us gets there.” 20-21 Because the midwives were God-fearing, God was good to them and gave them families of their own. And the Israelites continued to increase and become strong.  22 Finally the king issued a command to all his people: “Take every newborn Hebrew boy and throw him into the Nile, but let all the girls live.”

Exodus 2:1-10      The Birth of Moses

1 During this time a man from the tribe of Levi married a woman of his own tribe, 2 and she bore him a son. When she saw what a fine baby he was, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could not hide him any longer, she took a basket made of reeds and covered it with tar to make it watertight. She put the baby in it and then placed it in the tall grass at the edge of the river. 4 The baby's sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

5 The king's daughter came down to the river to bathe, while her servants walked along the bank. Suddenly she noticed the basket in the tall grass and sent a slave woman to get it. 6 The princess opened it and saw a baby boy. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

7 Then his sister asked her, “Shall I go and call a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for you?”

8 “Please do,” she answered. So the girl went and brought the baby's own mother. 9 The princess told the woman, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So she took the baby and nursed him. 10 Later, when the child was old enough, she took him to the king's daughter, who adopted him as her own son. She said to herself, “I pulled him out of the water, and so I name him Moses.”

Amen.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7            Paul Gives Thanks to God

3 Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! 4 He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God. 5 Just as we have a share in Christ's many sufferings, so also through Christ we share in God's great help. 6 If we suffer, it is for your help and salvation; if we are helped, then you too are helped and given the strength to endure with patience the same sufferings that we also endure. 7 So our hope in you is never shaken; we know that just as you share in our sufferings, you also share in the help we receive.

 

Some Gospel texts relating to this Sunday

Luke 2:33-35       The presentation of the child

33 The child's father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35 and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.”

Luke 8:19-21       Jesus' Mother and Brothers

19 Jesus' mother and brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. 20 Someone said to Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you.”  21 Jesus said to them all, “My mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Luke 13.34           Jesus weeps over the city he loves

Jesus said, ‘Jerusalem…How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!’

John 19.26-27     Jesus plans care for his mother

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

 


a prayer

As truly as God is our father,

so just as truly is he our mother.

In our father, God Almighty, we have our being;

In our merciful mother

we are remade and restored.

Our fragmented lives are knit together

and made perfect.

And by giving and yielding ourselves,

through grace, to the Holy Spirit

we are made whole.

 

I saw that

God rejoices that He is our Father,

God rejoices that He is our Mother, and

God rejoices that He is our true Spouse

and that our soul is His beloved wife.

And Christ rejoices that He is our Brother,

and Jesus rejoices that He is our Saviour.

These are five high joys, as I understand,

in which He wishes that we rejoice:

praising Him, thanking Him, loving Him,

endlessly blessing Him.

 

(Julian of Norwich 1342 –1416)

 

 


Note:

The Reflection and Sunday Service is taken from the weEbulletin which the minister emails each week to those interested whether or not they belong to the church. If you wish to be on the mailing list please let the minister, Stewart McPherson know.
Email: SMcPherson@churchofscotland.org.uk

You can have a look at a weEbulletin by clicking here.

 

                      

 


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