All Age Service for Mothering Sunday: 

What I used :  Tissue paper circles ( you can buy them ready cut!)  sticky backed plastic, large sheet of paper, several willing readers,  2 live chickens , Piles of Fun size chocs , small bunches of Daffs ( thanks to the MU remnant)and a congregation of 85, yes , really ( Ok I know that will sound like  peanuts to most of you, but I was  :D)

What I forgot: to record the talk, or indeed any of it!

Welcome & Notices

Hymn –All our Blessings, All our Joys  ( Tune: Royal Oak or All Things Bright & Beautiful)

All our blessings, all our joys

With thankful hearts we sing,

True, compassionate, loving God

Accept the praise we bring.

 

For parents and for children,

For husbands, wives, and friends,

For those whose care enfolds us

With love that never ends.

 

For fellowship and friendship

We both receive and give,

For those who’ve shared our journey

And taught us how to live.

 

For all who’ve shared our sorrow,

Walked with us in our pain,

Who’ve held our hand through darkness

And showed us light again.

Words © Ally Barrett

 https://sites.google.com/site/songsandhymns/Home/new-words-to-traditional-tunes

Readings –What is God like?

Voice 1: Today we thank God for the gift of mothers and mothering across the world.

We remember how much Mothering teaches us about God and his love for us:

Isaiah wrote that God is a mother to us, comforting and carrying us in her arms.

Voice 2:  As one whom a mother comforts, so I will comfort you – Isaiah 66:13.

 1:Isaiah also wrote that God will never forget us and that he knows each one of us

just as a mother knows her own children.

2:Can a woman forget her baby at her breast, feel no pity for the child she has borne?

Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you.Isaiah 49:15

 1:David wrote that in God’s presence, he was quiet and at peace,

trusting his God like a child safe in its mother’s arms.

 2:I hold myself in quiet and silence, like a child in its mothers’ arms. Psalm131:2

 1: Jesus spoke of himself as a mother, longing to wrap his arms around us

like a mother-hen gathering her chicks under her wings.

How often have I longed to gather your children together,

as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

 

Confession Activity –tissue paper petals/circles were given out at the start of the service.

Our lives are like beautiful petals but they can become crushed by:

  • The hurt we inflict on others
  • The Hurt we receive
  • The selfish decisions we make

And by

  • Dreams unfulfilled
  • Grief
  • Pain & heartache

ask congregation to crush their tissue paper as we remember before God these things that spoil our lives
Holding our crushed  petal in our  open hands we give these things and our lives to God

We acknowledge before God all the things that spoil his beauty in us, whether of our own making or not, and we hand these things to him. Knowing that he forgives and heals and makes new.

Absolution Activity –big flower drawn on paper –stick down petals to make a single beautiful flower

( I used sticky backed plastic to draw petals and a flower centre and without peeling off the bakcing, glued them the ” wrong way” down onto a large sheet of paper – when you peel the backing off ( do this before the service!) you are left with a sticky flower on which the congregation can come & stick their crushed petals to make one beautiful  large flower.)

I asked the organist to play while we did this.

Hymn 121  Father I place into your hands

Gospel Reading  John 19: 25-27

When Jesus was on the cross, his mother stood beside him, and her sister was there as well, and Mary  Magdalene. Jesus looked at his mother, and he looked at John, his best friend,
who was standing beside her, and he said,  ‘Mother, John will take care of you  as if he was your own son.’
Then he said to John, ‘I know she will be like a mother to you.’

And when Jesus had died, John took Mary home to stay with him

Talk these are very brief notes, which were expanded a lot in the presentation!

I began with introducing a real live chicken which I had brought with me,  along with her ( almost full size now) chick! walking up & down the aisle so people could see, I talked about the way she cared for the chick,  completely protecting and hiding her under her wings -and expaned the image of God like a mother hen.

How do we know what God is like?  This is one of the images we have in the bible –

We’ve heard  today of all the images of God like a mother, we know too of God likened to a father

These images are to show us God’s love. God’s care, parent images, nurture images.

The hen image shows us that God protects us shelters us

He feeds us & sustains us.,

When we look at the stories in the bible there are all sorts of people represented.

People with lives full of difficulty & pain ( Hannah, Hagar…)

People who seem to have had more successful lives

Everything is represented there. If you think your life & situation  is unsual in some way I bet you can probably find someone in the bible who lived something pretty similar

Mothering Sunday can be a hard day for some, the emphasis on  Mothers can bring back hurts, or memories, it can make us feel lacking or inadequate as well as thankful.

Thankfully this is not all its about –

Mothering Sunday –a day in Lent where people returned to their Mother church – the place they were baptised,  ( ask who was baptised here) remembering the role of the church in  their life &  their nurture and care. Of course this also meant they returned to their actual mothers too –and so the traditions began.

At the start we asked “ what is God like, how can we know?”

All the images in the world can never describe God.

But  instead of relying on that he came himself.

Jesus was God himself  – in human form,

He came so we can properly know what God is like,

And also so that he as God allies himself with us as humans.

Jesus was born to a human earthly mum as we all are, he shared our  human life. He walks with us, understanding our hurts and our joys, our good things and bad things.

Jesus loved too and he showed us Gods love.

Our gospel reading shows that even when he was dying Jesus wanted to make sure his own mother was cared for –and asks  John to do that

What an example,  - showing Gods love,

All of us when we care, and love, when we mother or father, when we  look after and nurture are reflecting God’s love. We don’t have to be parents or have parents with us to do that for others and experience it now.

We can remember that ALL of us, whoever we are are able to share & show God’s love

That Jesus  knows what we experience and feel because he walked our human life

And that we can thank God for all those around us who reflect his love & care, and ask for his strength & grace to do the same for others

Hymn –God is Love

1 God is love, he tends and cares;
In a mother’s arms he bears
Every child, who’s born to die –
He saves in Christ.
Such a wondrous story came
To a world where guilt and shame
Overwhelm with fear and pain
The joy of life.
Pour your Spirit
On your world, Lord.
We all need your love and tender care.
Bless your Church, Lord.
Make us holy
In the love of Jesus, Mary’s Son.

Mary said ‘I will’ to God:
Love is born where we have trod –
Human days are shared by Him
Who knows no age.
So the Lord of time and space
Meets us with a human face –
Jesus leads us by the hand
To bring us home.

By the cross, Our Lady stood,
Saw her son nailed to the wood:
Love outpoured between the two –
The sky turned black.
Jesus died, to rise again,
Sharing fear and human pain
So that all might live in Him –
The Lord of life.

In a family God lives;
Simple joys he shares and gives:
As a mother loves her child,
God loves his world.
Make us strong to share this life,
Bring true peace in place of strife;
Spread the love that counts no cost –
So all are free!         
 

Words © Neil Thompson 2008

             

Prayers

Intro we remember God’s covering love for all of us, his wings spread out over all humanity male female, mothers fathers , childless, the joyful the grieving. We remember in our hearts all  those whom we want to pray for or remember -

For the mothering of mothers

and the mothering of fathers

for the mothering of others:

Mother God, we give you thanks

 

For those who act as midwife to our hopes,

for those who nurse us through our pain,

for those who nurture, strengthen and guide us:

Mother God, we give you thanks

 

For those who gently push us from the nest,

for those who welcome us home,

for those who become our family,

for the motherhood of the Church:

Mother God, we give you thanks

 

Loving Father, we pray for those for whom Mothering

Sunday is a time of heartache rather than celebration.

We pray for those who have never known their mother

Or whose mothers have died.

Heavenly Father, bless them with your love

 

We pray for those who long to be mothers but as yet

have not had their own children.

Heavenly Father, bless  them with your love

 

We pray for those who struggle with the way their

children have chosen to live their lives.

Heavenly Father, bless them with your love

 

We pray for those who have a difficult relationship with

their mother.

Heavenly Father, bless them with your love

 

May they have the comfort of knowing that your love for

them is constant, your understanding is perfect, your

compassion is never-ending.

Amen

 We pray together the Lords Prayer in this version

Father and Mother of us all,

Source of all that is and all that shall be,

Loving God who is in heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by people of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever.

          May it be so. Amen.

 

 Distribution of posies & Chocolates to all  – in thankfulness for the new life God gives us and the love shared with all.

Come & get flowers or chocolate to give to someone you want to thank, your mother, godmother or grandmother, a your dad grandfather godfather, someone who has made you smile,  someone who helps you, someone you just want to say thank you to, or to encourage for the work they do.

As well, maybe there is someone no longer with us, or just not here today, come & light a candle by the font to remember them before God and to give thanks

( organist plays)

[Presentation of Baptismal Candle

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism: By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body.

All: We welcome you into the fellowship of faith;

we are children of the same heavenly Father; we welcome you

God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and has given us a place with the saints in light.

You have received the light of Christ; walk in this light all the days of your life.

All: Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father ]

Final Hymn –Tell Out My Soul 467

Blessing

May the Lord who brought us to birth by his Spirit,

strengthen us for the Christian life.

May the Lord who provides for all our needs

sustain us day by day.

May the Lord whose steadfast love is constant as a

mother’s care,

send us out to live and work for others.

And the blessing…

******************************************************

I got some great feedback  - it all seemed to go well and people liked the lack of emphasis on ”  mothers” per se and the opportunity to remember, acknowledge pain and to celebrate & give thanks.   Thanks to MU for prayers resources, and the new words for old hymn writers!

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