Weekly Reflection – Mum’s the Word

08 March 2024

I’ve mentioned “Call The Midwife” in a previous Catch Up article. Last weekend’s episode – the last in the series – had a strong theme looking at the varieties of motherhood. We saw biological mums, adoptive mums, fostering mums, long-lost mums and even the convent “mother”, Sister Julienne. It was timely of course, because Mothering Sunday is this weekend.

Now, I know that the “real” meaning of the celebration is supposed to be about “mother church” and the custom of returning to the church where we were baptised. It has become commercialised like many other days and so now the focus is more likely to be upon human mums, with cards, flowers and chocolates required. We can’t escape this, and maybe it’s good to have a “day for mum”.

However, to be honest, I always find the day a bit tough. I’m always glad if I am not on church duty. My own mother died 43 years ago in early March, so “Mother’s Day” is frequently nearby in the diary, and therefore a painful reminder of grief. Nevertheless, over time I have learned to treat the day as an opportunity to give thanks for the lovely woman who bore me and raised me. I don’t need to buy cards, flowers or chocolates. Just simply pause and reflect with gratitude.

But while I was blessed to have such a mother, some people never knew their mothers, were adopted, or sadly suffered at the hands of a difficult parent. Human life is complex and messy.

Experiencing the complex and messy world of his own time, Jesus used “mothering” language about the people of Jerusalem. He said, “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” He’s probably remembering Psalm 91, which says, “..under his wings you will find refuge.”

Whatever our views on mothers, we believe in a God who gathers us under his wings like a mother bird. We can all be thankful for that.

Canon Derek: Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations

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