Mothering Sunday from the minister of Taunton URC
We are all having to find new ways of living our lives in so many ways. These are challenging times to live through and many of us will be feeling more anxious than normal, with many of the things that hold us steady in life suddenly not there. Please do not feel that you are alone. It is my hope and prayer that you will stay safe and well and that we will all be able to keep in touch as much as possible, until we can meet together again. Please do contact your Elder or me by phone or e-mail if we can help even, and especially, if you just want to talk.
We will all want to continue to pray and to worship God, and to draw on the continued and unbreakable love of God that sustains our lives each day. We normally do this, week by week, by coming together. We need to find new ways of doing this. That’s why I’m sending you some links (for those of you who have access to the internet) and some suggestions for worship and prayer that you can use at home.
Many of you use the Daily Devotions from the URC. From now on there will be regular posts of material for use on a Sunday morning. Here is the link: https://devotions.urc.org.uk
You can also find, by following this link, churches who are offering recordings of worship or streaming worship services: https://urc.org.uk/latest-news/3385-coronavirus-worshipping-digitally
There are many such things available online – please do explore them!
But here also are some more home-grown things that might help you on Sunday morning.
Find a good place to be and light a candle, to remind you that God is present.
Come into the presence of God – and offer praise.
Think back over the past week;
give thanks for all that was good, and offer up all that has been difficult.
Take time to reflect honestly before God on the challenges we are all facing.
Be assured that God is with you offering forgiveness, love and grace.
Say the Lord’s Prayer.
A reflection for Mothering Sunday:
Jesus said, ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, city that murders the prophets and stones the messengers sent to her! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings; but you would not let me. Look! There is your temple, forsaken by God and laid waste. I tell you, you will not see me until the time when you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Matthew 23: 37
Jesus wants to be like a mother to the people and to gather them together, to offer protection and comfort in a time of trouble. But he can’t. He is writing, or the Gospel writer is writing, from a time when no-one can go to the Temple (the mother ‘church’) and he writes of a time of blessing to come when he will be reunited with his people. There could hardly be a more timely text for us for a Mothering Sunday when we cannot meet, and when our whole nation, the whole world, is going through such a difficult time.
My most immediate reaction to most problems is to get people together, to draw us close, to have something at church… But we can’t do that. At a time of great anxiety and change I want to be with those who are under most strain, but I can’t do that.. Most of our ways of being the church depend on gathering together. We even speak of ‘the gathered church’. For now, we must be the scattered church, the people of God in isolation sometimes, a people praying and longing for a time when life will be filled with the blessing of reunion.
Whatever we are going through now, the church is still the church and God is still loving us and all the world. God, as Jesus did, still wants to gather us and assure us that we are loved. It is going to take us a while to come to terms with what is happening and many of us will be feeling as we once did as children that we want ‘someone’ to make it right. For a while life is going to go on feeling and being somehow ‘wrong’. Even God our Father cannot rescue us from all that is going on. But we can know, and be assured, that God’s love is still with us and always will be.
And there are blessings to be found in all this; the countless acts of altruism and kindness, a new unity among our politicians (Brexit feels suddenly like a distant memory!), the renewed sense of what really matters to us, let alone that many of us will have now a much lower carbon footprint… and the earth might breathe a little.
May God bless us all each one. And, even if we are in isolation, through the gift of modern technology we can keep in touch. We cannot be gathered, but we can be loved. We cannot be together, but we need never feel alone. We cannot go to church to worship, but we can be the church. And one day, we shall be celebrate a new dawn.
O God, who loves us with the deepest love,
protect us through this time.
Give us grace to endure,
humour to lighten the days,
friends to support us
and a faith to hold us firm, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Ruth and I are praying every day at 7pm – you might like to join us (at a distance…).
The presidents of Churches Together in England have suggested that we might light a candle in the windows of our homes on March 22nd at 7pm as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer. I invite you to share in that – and to pray for all affected by the virus, for all leading the nation’s and the world’s response to it, for all those who work for the emergency services, and indeed for all of us…