Readings: Lectionary Year B, Fourth Sunday in Lent – Mothering Sunday
(The lectionary alternatives for each reading are included further on.)

Exodus 2.1-10 God rescues Moses when his mother can no longer protect him, and places him where he can grow up equipped to rescue God’s people
Colossians 3.12-17 Paul gives the church instructions for living together in families & communities, emphasising forgiveness and thankfulness
John 19.25-27 Jesus ensures that both Mary & John have someone to care for them, and someone to give care to. Both things are important to us

Mary, Jesus’ mother, with her mother Anne, and John (the Baptist) with his mother Elizabeth. In All Saints’ church Cambridge, by C E Kempe, 1905.

Does seeing these two depicted as children, when we only meet them in Scripture as adults, help us to ‘round them out’ in our minds as real people?

Alternative lectionary readings for Mothering Sunday

1 Samuel 1.20-28 Hannah brings her longed-for son Samuel to the temple to fulfil the promise she made to God before he was conceived.
2 Corinthians 1.3-7 Paul reminds us that the comfort we receive from God in our difficulties is not just for our benefit but also so that we can comfort others.
Luke 2.33-35 As Mary presents Jesus in the temple, she is amazed at the prophecies made about him and warned of the personal cost she will pay.

What other passages might you choose for Mothering Sunday?

Some thoughts on the readings

– Jochebed (Moses’ mother), Hannah, and Mary all know the pain as well as the joy of having children. To love is to risk pain and loss, even for God.
– Any form of community will inevitably involve conflict of some sort: the Bible, especially Jesus’ teachings, give us tools to deal graciously with conflict.

Points for Prayer

– Give thanks for all those who have nurtured, protected, encouraged, and challenged us in our lives, whether our mothers or others.
– Pray for parents in your community (especially single parents): ask God to give them wisdom, patience, and love as they bring up their children.
– Pray for all who have are bereaved of parents or children, and for all who want to have children but are prevented in some way: ask God that their desire to care and nurture will find fulfilment in other ways.

Points for Action

– Think of parents with young children in your community: ask them how you might help them practically (perhaps with shopping, transport or babysitting)
– Write to your MP and urge them to work for the relief of families who are asylum seekers, or homeless, and for proper funding of support services