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Mothering Sunday 2020

One family in Christ...for all the family: Loving, Serving, Growing

Today is Mothering Sunday. A day when historically people would return from their work places and visit home – worship at their ‘Mother Church’ and spend time with their families. In more contemporary times, it is a day when we remember and give thanks for our mothers and receive a posy of flowers from church to give to our mums, a ‘mother-like’ figure who we wish to honour or keep them as a reminder of our mothers. 

Due to the impact and concern regarding the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) we are not only not able to meet together in our building but also not able to give out the now-traditional posies. 

However, ‘not meeting’ does not mean that we abandon everything that is important. The concerns around COVID 19 are serious and the government and Public Health England warnings need to be adhered to but fear of Coronavirus is rocking the foundations of the world – we have become a society that is normally able to control threats but this enemy is invisible and prolific. Yet while it is vital that we follow the directions given for our sake and the protection of others, we, as Christians don’t need to do so in fear – we do so in hope and trust in a God who is faithful – who is with us and longs for us to pray and spend time in his presence. 

This is why the Archbishops and other church leaders have called for a day of prayer and action. 

Their article from 17th March 2020 said: 

“So today we, together with our fellow bishops and other church leaders, call for a National Day of Prayer and Action this coming Mothering Sunday (22nd March) – light a candle at 7pm and put it in your window, ring someone who is isolated and vulnerable; buy an extra item and place it in your local food bank, keep your night shelters open.” https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/latest-news/coronavirus-archbishops-call-national-day-prayer-and-action

The bible reading that I had planned to use long before we knew the circumstances might be the way they are is below: 

Bible reading: Jer 29:10-14 

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

This is from the prophet Jeremiah – speaking to his people who were in exile in Babylon – quite literally shut out not only of their church (temple/synagogue) but also out of their homes and country. God’s people were feeling abandoned, far from God, beaten down by their enemies without any hope for the future. Jeremiah here is talking about when they return to their own country, to their temple and synagogue and to their homes. The Lord says through Jeremiah, that even in this place of exile, he is FOR them: He has plans, hope and a future FOR THEM. This plan is about calling upon the Lord in their need, praying to Him ….and the promise – that he will listen to them. When his people seek him they will find him when they earnest seek him with their whole heart – God is not playing hide and seek – he longs for us to turn to him, to call upon him now – as he did then. Through Jeremiah, the Lord was saying that he is still for them – he has not given up on them. Neither has he given up on us. He is faithful to us. 

The nuance is in the way we seek him: The Lord, through Jeremiah, is saying that we must seek him with our whole hearts. Not half-hearted, or just going through the motions but seeking God with our whole heart – what he wants to teach us through these circumstances, how he wants to depend on him daily, listening for his voice and leading, letting him lead us not fear dominate us. 

On this day of prayer and action, I ask you to join with me praying against Coronavirus and for blessing on our city, nation and world.

Despite how you might be feeling, despite the fear and anxiety that is ‘in the air’ God is faithful to us – will you seek him today ‘with your whole heart’ 

Faithful one, so unchanging

Ageless one, you’re my rock of peace

Lord of all I depend on you

I call out to you, again and again

I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble

You lift me up when I fall down

All through the storm

Your love is, the anchor

My hope is in You alone

You can listen to the song online here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxviwvjyg1w

Prayers

Let us pray to God, who alone makes us dwell in safety:

For all who are affected by Coronavirus, through illness or isolation or anxiety, that they may find relief and recovery: Lord, hear us, 

Lord, graciously hear us.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time, and shaping national policies, that they may make wise decisions: Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers, that through their skill and insights many will be restored to health: Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For the vulnerable and the fearful, for the gravely ill and the dying, that they may know your comfort and peace: Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

You can watch the live stream in our ‘private group’ on Facebook by becoming a member: https://www.facebook.com/groups/299576777689929