Mothering Sunday

Blog Bulletin 

Published on: Thursday March 7 2024, 2:57 pm

This Sunday, for Mothering Sunday, I have the honour of being the guest preacher at Bolton Priory Church. In part, the reason for this is that within the more Anglo Catholic tradition, women clergy are called Mother, just as men are called Father. I’ve been invited to reflect with them on Holy Mother Church, upon the nurture and mothering within the church, within our worshipping communities, on the concept of ministry as mothering, and of course, in the love that we receive from God, who is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. 

Mothers are always there when we need them, and generally ignored and taken for granted 90% of the time, more so as we grow older and think we know best. Yet we expect them to pick us up when we fall. To salve graze knees, to mend broken bones and dreams, to bind up the bleeding wounds inflicted by the wider world. And then off we go again, blithely ignoring their advice and warm homely wisdom, into our next adventure, trusting that mother will always be there when next we fall, or need comfort and the sense of being held, tenderly, firmly, safely, as a child. 

That may not be your experience of mothering, but I bet it’s part of your mental “ideal” image. That “ideal” may owe a lot to 1950s American advertising, but ironically, it’s not just wishful Hollywood idealism. For that is what Holy Mother Church (at her best) is and does for us – though the hands that bind and the ears that listen are ours, and those of fellow members of this Body – which is also the Body of Christ here on earth. 

Which leads me to God as Creator, to Mother Mary, and to Jesus. The patient Creator, who lovingly watched and held His new creation and creatures as they tried and blundered and messed up and tried again. The patient Mother, who watched and waited and held her beloved Son throughout His life, so that He could teach and heal and mend, renew, and reconcile. The loving Reconciler, who stopped, took time, touching the untouchable with love, and giving time to the poor and “worthless” who were precious to God even if society failed to value them.  

It was and is always about Being, not merely Doing. Of course, Mothers do endless tasks, most of which are ignored or taken for granted until one day they aren’t done, and we suddenly realise how valuable and important they were. But Mothers also do the one thing most of us forget. They simply are. They have the ability to sit and watch over their children, loving, waiting, being present. A place of comfort and quiet when everything else has gone to pot, and we have reached the absolute end of our resources and ability. 

Isaiah 66.13 God says to his people, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.”

Revd. Talisker

Photo by Dylan McLeod on Unsplash