Morning Worship- 27th March 2022
Opening Prayer: (Nigel)
Our souls sing out in worship and all of creation bursts forth with praise!
For you look with compassion on all who suffer.
You shed tears of sorrow with those in grief.
You reach down into the dark pit of hopelessness.
You kneel in the dust to lift up the humble,
and shoulder the burdens of those who are bowed down.
Great and mighty is our God, who meets us in weakness.
Sure and strong is our God, who meets us in our fear.
Reading – Exodus 2.1–10
2Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. 3When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. 4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
5 The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. 7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ 8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’
Reading – Luke 2.33-38
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Mothering Sunday is traditionally a day when we give thanks for our mothers and show them our appreciation. The origins of Mothering Sunday are not entirely clear, but it has been celebrated in Britain since the 16th century at least. It has roots in the custom that communities and families would once a year visit their “mother church”. It is an opportunity to reflect on how churches have been developed and established alongside new communities. Those who regularly visit our church hall will see the two stone plaques in the entrance hall, which celebrate Canterbury Cathedral as the “mother church” of the Diocese and the parish church of Saint Peter in Maidstone (now closed) which was the “mother church” of our church St Nicholas here in Allington. The plaques are dated 1938, which is when the first houses would have been built in the area.
Mothering Sunday is a day when we reflect on all those qualities that we identify with mothers (and any involved in the caring for others). Comforting and healing, feeding and nurturing, guiding and protecting. But the reading from Luke today reminds us of the pain of caring – Simeon telling Mary that “a sword would pierce your own soul too”. Across the world, women and children are often in vulnerable situations in war and conflict or seeking escape and refuge to protect their families. The appearance of Mary in the Gospels reveal these two parts of “motherhood” side by side – the pain and joy of caring.
Whilst Simeon foretold the pain that Mary would suffer, Anna spoke of the rejoicing of people who would be healed through message of love that Jesus would bring. Jesus would use images in his teaching of caring, nurturing and forgiveness – revealing God’s love for humankind – encouraging all to show the same love and caring to others. It is on these principles that our church communities have been built and grown.
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul reminds us of these qualities:
12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Loving God. We pray that your Church worldwide, all its leaders and all people, will be guided and strengthened to feed the faithful with your word. We pray that they will nurture those who are hungry in spirit.
Protect and cherish those who are abandoned and rejected, those who are weak, and those who look for forgiveness and healing.
We pray for all who suffer hardship or persecution. Give them courage and strength.
We pray for those nations and communities who are torn apart by war. Uphold all those who have lost family, homes and livelihoods as a result of conflict.
Loving God, we thank you for all those who show us love and care, in our families, our church and the places where we live and work. May we be always ready to return it selflessly.
The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever. Amen
God of love,
passionate and strong,
tender and careful,
watch over us and hold us,
as we go out on our life journey,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And the love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore.