Exminster Methodist Church, Main Road, Exminster EX6 8BT
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Minister: Rev Julian Albrow, Telephone (01392) 255791
Friends, Jerusalem …Mother of us all. Here are words to warm the heart. They brought tears to the eyes of Jewish patriots, when their capital city was under the rule of the Romans. Many of the former citizens had been sent away into exile, and like the exiles of another age, found themselves unable to sing the songs of Zion in a strange land, their hearts were in Jerusalem. To the big religious festivals, however, they were sometimes allowed home to return and participate. Many travelled hundreds of miles by land and sea and when they caught sight of the shining pinnacles of the Temple they wept for joy. Jerusalem reminded them of a more glorious past, and held hopes of a yet more glorious future when once more she would be set free. Christians spoke of a New Jerusalem, (Revelations 7:12) freed from sin and oppression, as the symbol and hope of heaven. This prompted St Paul to write: Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. Many centuries have passed since the Apostle penned these words, yet the phrase ‘ mother of us all’ can continue to stir the hearts of us.
Mothering Sunday has become increasingly popular, with an enormous amount of cards sold for the occasion and florists, too, find it gives a tremendous fillip to their trade. It’s roots started when working class girls left Mother to go into service at the big house, and their brothers left home to serve seven years as bound apprentices, and Mothering Sunday came as a welcome break; for on that day their employers freed them to visit their parents at home. They would bring home presents, a traditional simnel cake baked by a daughter, or a wooden gift carved by the son. Additionally, they brought presents of sweets and flowers. What joy to be reunited, and when the whole family came back together. Their first thought was to go together to their local church, where Mother and Father had been married, to the house of God where they had been baptised into the family of the Church. Reunited, they prayed together and praised God for all his goodness, especially thanking Him for Mother and all her loving care. Times have changed but still Mothering Sunday continues to be observed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, (11th March this year). And still many a mother continues to wipe away tears of joy! Could I suggest that the three Rs could help remind us of the deeper meaning of Mothering Sunday. First they remind us of our family roots. After all in this modern age families are soon uprooted and scattered. Higher education, employment see folk far away from the family, Second we can be reminded of family religion. We need to remind ourselves about our baptismal vows, the folk who made promises on our behalf, the fact we belong to the family of the church. The third R reminds us that traditionally Mothering Sunday was also ‘Refreshment Sunday’ because the Gospel reading was always the feeding of the 5,000. It is the story of many folk hungry and far from home, and Jesus shows compassion and feeds them miraculously. It will be tragic if the modern Mothering Sunday were to become merely ‘Mother’s Day’ with family roots and family religion forgotten and the need of spiritual nourishment ignored. Christ still satisfies the hungry soul. Why not say, this year to the family, let’s go together to church this Mothering Sunday and remember the three Rs! God Bless, Julian