Today is Mothering Sunday; a really beautiful Festival for us to celebrate and, coming as it does during Lent, it is appropriate this morning to link Mothering Sunday with the crucifixion of Christ. Because here, in John 19:25-27, the two events are brought together: the creative pain of motherhood and the creative pain of the crucifixion where salvation was won for us all.
And, as we turn to this Gospel reading, we are first confronted by the sheer pain of this moment. A dying son. A bewildered disciple. A mother whose heart is breaking.
Mary knew what it was to suffer. Mary suffered when she gave birth in a filthy stable, far from home.
Mary suffered when she heard that Herod wanted to kill her baby.
Mary suffered when she was forced to become a refugee in Egypt.
Mary suffered as she watched a whole nation misunderstand and taunt her son.
And here, at the foot of the cross, Mary suffers again as she watches her beautiful baby boy being crucified for a crime he didn’t commit.
We can’t even begin to imagine the pain in her heart – how her soul was being torn apart that day.
As parents, we experience anguish over our children many times throughout our lives.
For some who have lost their own children, Mary can be an important figure of compassion and solidarity as one who identifies with that deep pain.
And, as Mary thinks about her son, so Jesus thinks about his mother.
Jesus knew her agony and he was aware that, after his own death, there would be no-one to care for his mother.
Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, ‘He is your son’. Then he said to the disciple, ‘She is your mother’.
A new family is created in the shadow of the cross.
Through the blood of Christ shed for us, a new home, a new community comes to life. A new family is born.
It is here that the church is formed!
As we take bread and wine on behalf of the parishes this morning, we are proclaiming the same truth that was acted out that first Good Friday.
Here, in Dunsfold and Hascombe, is a new community.
Here, in Dunsfold and Hascombe, is a new family.
Here, in Dunsfold and Hascombe, is a new fellowship.
We are blood relatives; not through our blood but through His, shed on the cross for us all.
So, we see that Mothering Sunday is so much deeper than we might at first imagine.
Yes, it is a time to celebrate the love of our Mothers.
It is a time to celebrate the love of our carers throughout the years.
But it is also a time to give thanks for Mother Church, formed in the blood of Christ at the foot of the cross.
Let’s remember the care that Mother Church has for all its members but, above all, lets remember the love and the care that Jesus has for us today, and every day.