This year Mothering Sunday feels much more difficult than it has in previous years.This really quite surprises me, as normally it passes me by. This year, however, I am feeling just a bit unsettled by the whole thing.
It might be that I am feeling conscious of getting older and that my chance to have children is diminishing as time goes by. It might be that I am conscious of the number of people close to me who'd rather Mothering Sunday just disappeared. It might be that I am conscious that sometimes it's hard, and we've got to allow space to express our frustrations and sorrow.
I pray that for everyone who finds it difficult, that they might see signs of light in the darkness, signs of hope in sorrow and a companion who can journey with them as they struggle at this point in the rhythm of every year.
I wrote the prayer below three years ago to use during our Mothering Sunday service. It recognises that Mothering Sunday is both a celebration and a time of sorrow. We feel both of these emotions with all of our senses: in all we see, hear, smell, touch and taste. A prayer of journeys and of blessing.
Loving God, you are both Father and Mother to us. We come to you today all on different parts of our journey. Some of us are searching, some of us are feeling lost, some of us are hurting, some of us are feeling loved. Wherever we are and whatever we feel we come to you as our parent – the one who understands, and knows and walks with us.
As we journey with you today we hear the sounds of joy. As families meet together and celebrate being family together. As children tell their mothers how beautifully wonderful they are and as mothers tell their children how loved they are.
We also hear the sounds of mourning. We pray for those for whom this Mothering Sunday is a reminder of loss. A reminder that their Mum is not with them any more. We pray for peace. We pray for comfort. We pray that you might pick them up and carry them today.
As we journey with you today we taste the sweetness of new life. We thank you for the children in our lives. The way they smile, the way they brighten our lives. Help us to welcome children as part of our family, loving them unconditionally as you love them.
We also taste the bitterness that this day brings. For those who have not been able to have children we know that today can be a sorrowful and painful reminder of that. We pray for those people who have desperately wanted to be parents and have not been able to be. We pray that you might bring some sweetness into their lives through the blessings of others. We pray for comfort. We pray that you might pick them up and carry them today.
As we journey with you today we see the beauty in family life. We see how you have blessed us and cared for us. We remember where you have taken us and we look forward to where you are taking us next. Help us to continue to trust you as the future unfurls before our eyes.
We also remember that there are people for whom the future is not what they expected to see. We pray for those who have lost a child – who were looking forward with joy only to have that dream shattered. We pray for peace. We pray for comfort. We pray that you might pick them up and carry them today.
As we journey with you today we remember the smells of home. The smell of freshly baked cake, a delicious meal and the familiar. We thank you for what you have provided for us.
We also remember that not everyone has enough, that not everyone can experience the smells of home. We pray for those children who have no home, who have no one they can call Mum or Dad and who need caring for. We pray for those who do not have enough food or money. We pray that you will provide for them. We pray that you will pick them up and carry them today.
As we journey today we reach out our hands to you. We know that where we put our hand in your hand we can rely on your guidance, your love, your arms that carry us when life is hard.
We also remember those we love who have not reached out their hands to you or have let go, gone their own way. Our children who do not know you, our parents, our partners, our siblings, our wider families and the people we care about deeply. We pray that they may reach out to you, take your hand and choose to follow you.
Loving God, you are both Father and Mother to us. We come to you today all on different parts of our journey. Some of us are searching, some of us are feeling lost, some of us are hurting, some of us are feeling loved. Wherever we are and whatever we feel we come to you as our parent – the one who understands and knows and walks with us.