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Mothering Sunday Sermon

Mothering Sunday Sermon

Mothering Sunday  Sermon

John 19: 25-27(NRSV) 

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 

26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 

27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Let me just check if there is anyone here who really should be here!

If you are a mother, please raise a hand? OK hands down

Anybody here – If you were baptised or Christened at this Church please raise a hand?

So which group is right?

The answer is everyone is welcome and everyone here should be here but Mothering Sunday historically has a special place for those who were christened and who returned and if they were in service as many were when this tradition developed this was the one day each year they might expect to get back to their home church and back then where you grew up was probably where you were christened and in all probability where your parents still lived so you may well see and stay with your mother on your return, if she was still alive. But the mother in mothering Sunday refers not to going home to see your Mum, though chances are you did but going back to your mother church. And this term was used variously to describe the church of your christening and also the diocesan cathedral. So I have seen old church records of bequests from this county made in wills to the mother church which there meant the diocesan cathedral and in view of their age that mother church was Lincoln whose diocese famously stretched from the Humber to the Thames. Often small amounts tuppence or sixpence but they all added up across such a vast area. I have often wondered how many of them ever visited Lincoln Cathedral? I suspect not many. But it was the mother church.

Last year I met a volunteer at our current cathedral – Peterborough and she was passionate about the cathedral, while not declaring any Christian faith, she nevertheless described the cathedral in essentially spiritual terms. It was like a great blanket covering and protecting her she said with the sense of all the souls who have inhabited the Abbey over the centuries. She was passionate about the mother church and because of that passion she gave of her time resource and really loved it. And we like that about our mothers too. Wanting as children to bring Mum breakfast in bed on Mothering Sunday or draw a picture or find some flowers. We need to do something. And Jesus hanging on that dreadful cross as his mortal life sapped from him sees John, the disciple who Jesus loved standing beside Mary and said behold your mother and to Mary; woman behold your son. We know Jesus had a brother James and yet his passion for the wellbeing of his mother leads him to make this statement from the cross. Woman behold your Son. To secure her future care and love and at the height of his passion and pain to focus his earthly passion on his mother. And we see that love and passion for mothers repeated in every generation. Not always – sometimes it is tough, sometimes that love is shattered or abused but generally that parent child love and devotion is echoed down the centuries.

So how do we apply that same passion, that same love to the mother church? Indeed do we? What is our passion? What “floats our boat”? Our favourite football or rugby team? Our favourite TV or film celebrity or band? Our car? Our pet? And how much time and money do we lavish on our passion?

The French writer and aviator Antione de St Exupéry wrote this – strangely about boat building!

“If you want to build a ship. Don’t summon people to be workers, to prepare tools, distribute jobs and organise their work. Rather motivate people to yearn for the wide boundless ocean.”

If you want to grow your Church’s income and resources. Don’t summons them to Church and browbeat them into stewardship but tell them the Gospel and the love that Jesus has for them worked out in His Church. Does that seem a fair comparison with the quote of Antione de St Exupéry? I suggest it might be.

Growing churches often have growing incomes available and resources to deliver mission. Manchester United is a very popular football team far more popular than my local football team, Barnet football club where supporters were known to walk out of the game during the match even when Barnet were winning, which admittedly was not that often! Whereas Manchester United supporters go around in the red and white club strip, travel hundreds of miles to get to Old Trafford, pay extortionate gate fees whether their team win or lose. Because they are passionate about their club. Much the same could be said of passionate collectors of whatever and people passionate about their hobbies. Are we passionate about Jesus and what he has done for us? As passionate as we might be for the wellbeing of our own mothers?

I saw this story in a recent flyer from a medical charity about a woman in Old Fangak in South Sudan, beside the White Nile.

A woman came into the clinic in this remote swampy area. It was the rainy season although it seems that makes little difference these days and the Marram runway was now mud and incapable of being used. The mother was haemorrhaging and losing dangerous amounts of blood. She was a mother and had 5 children in her care. They had come with her but her condition was worsening and in danger. The children were all tested for blood types as supplies were so low and they brought in as many people as they could to give blood if they were suitable and found 3 but it was not enough. The woman needed surgical procedures that would have to be done in the capital Juba but they could not get her flown out. I have driven a car in such conditions and it is pretty scary an aeroplane would be out of the question. It would take days to cross by boat and land to get to Juba and there are no good roads. The woman did not have a few days. Then news came in that a helicopter was passing nearby the next day and they offered to winch the woman up and fly her to Juba. Within a week she had been treated, recovered and that mother was starting her 500km journey back to her family.

There is no suggestion that the Doctor who wrote this account was a Christian but his observation was that it was the generosity, passion and commitment of this mother’s family, friends and professional carers that saved her. That same word again – passion and linked here with generosity. Features we see at this time each year, Mothering Sunday and features we need to see throughout the year for the Bride of Christ which is the Church – the mother church.

I finish with a quote from the Confessions of Augustine – he of Hippo, which was a town in North Africa, not a reference to his horselike features (although photography was pretty useless in the 4th century!)  “You called, you shouted, you broke through my deafness, you flamed, you blazed and being led in my blunders you lavished your fragrance – AND I GASPED!”

AMEN

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices

Sunday 1st March 2020:  Lent I

Please remember in your prayers those who are sick:  Ray Kilsby, Barry Broughton and Robin Rowland.

Pray too for the departed: Peter Leach and Ted Bailey.

Remember also in your prayers our sheep farmers who continue lambing in challenging weather.

In our wider prayers we remember the Deanery of Greater Northampton and its Rural Dean, Beverley Hollins.

If anyone still needs The Lent Book, ‘#Live Lent, Care for God’s Creation’, please contact your parish book agent, a warden or the Priest-in-Charge.   Are you signed up to the Benefice website? The first Lent Blog post – our equivalent of ‘thought for the day’ – is there, to be followed by one a week for the six weeks of Lent. All are written by lay people across the Benefice and linked to the #LiveLent themes.

BARROWDEN:

  • Tuesday, 3 March: Lent lunch in St Peter’s 12 noon – 2.00 pm. Delicious homemade soup and rolls.  All proceeds from donations to go to Shelter.
  • Saturday 14 March – Children’s Theatre Group in Barrowden Village Hall 2.30pm. An interactive water adventure, target age group 7 years +, £5.00 (under 18s) £8.00 (Adults).  Book with Sara on 01572 747628.
  • 23 April: please contact Carol if you can make a cake for the Open Day at Red Kite House.

MORCOTT:

The March issue of the Parish Magazine is on its way, thanks to a new volunteer. Have you given Eric your £5 subscription yet?

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

  • Mon 2 Mar 10.45-12 noon. Pick up a free coffee, tea or hot choc from the Coffee Connect van, The Boot carpark, then join us for cake in the village hall!
  • Ted’s Funeral – Tuesday 3 March at 11.30am in Church.
  • Next Sunday 9.30 am Family Communion.
  • Friday 13 March Lent Lunch 12-1.30 in the Village Hall.
  • Mr Keith’s community event in the village hall, Fri 20 Mar 7.30pm £11.
  • Advance notice: church spring-clean/churchyard tidy on Mon 6 April from 2pm
  • ‘Still Time’ each Monday 5.30-6pm in Church. Why not join us during Lent?

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens

Ash Wednesday 2020.The Benefice Service, Barrowden

Ash Wednesday 2020.The Benefice Service, Barrowden

Ash Wednesday 2020.The Benefice Service, Barrowden

“When you fast…wash your face.” Mt.6.17.

 

Contrary to Scripture?

In a few moments, we will kneel at the altar rail for the Imposition of Ashes.  Will we be disobeying scripture by doing so?  On first reading the wearing of ashes is being outlawed by St. Matthew. Why then are we doing it?

Matthew was a Jew who was called by Jesus from the tax office to follow him.  He knew the Jewish tradition inside out, including their pattern of fasting which – as we have heard – was very public: standing on the street corners with long prayers, looking miserable and a bit scruffy. It was these empty gestures which Jesus criticised yet he didn’t come to abolish but to fulfil the Law.  And we too are called to fulfil the Jewish law, including the call to repentance and we will do so with Christ, in Christ, through Christ, and in the company of one another.

The Jews in Jesus’ day wore ash on their heads but attitudes were soon to change in the church. After the resurrection and the growing popularity of the Christian church, the Romans were very edgy about this new group. The cross was a dangerous sign to be wearing and could result in arrest or worse. So the Christians adopted a secret sign – the fish – the Greek for which was an acrostic for Jesus: ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour’. We can find it today on Christian pottery and in the catacombs. It was only after Christianity became legal with the Emperor Constantine that the cross became popular – and so it remains to this day, or almost so. It reminds us of the hope into which we are baptised and in which we stand together, with that invisible cross on our foreheads. Ash Wednesday is one of those principal days in the Christian Year when we are called to stand together. This cross reminds us that we are dust but dust destined for glory. It is still a gathering point for revolution.  We only have to reflect upon the fate of Christians in China, Russia or Pakistan.

 

Spartacus.

There is strength in numbers, however we identify with each other.

Just before the birth of Jesus, the Romans had to tackle a revolution in their own ranks led by a gladiator called Spartacus.  The Romans were desperate to stamp this out so rounded up their gladiators and demanded that Spartacus identify himself. Otherwise they would all be put to death. He did. He stood up and acknowledged his name. But then, so did others, all of whom were called Spartacus, until the whole hillside was bristling with men called Spartacus. It’s an inspiring story and one beloved of revolutionaries. That story has been immortalized not just in film but in an overture by Saint Saens. It has a dark, brooding start in a minor key but then gathers to a finale with crashing percussion, brass and trumpets.

 

Hypocrites?

And so Christ’s will is for us to carry through Lent identifying with him and with each other to the glorious finale which is Easter Day.  Jesus used the word ‘hypocrite’ to describe those who faked their fast.  The word means actor, pretender, dissembler. And we can fall under that criticism too if we are not prepared to see this journey through.

A hypocrite would not change. He or she would carry on just as before. But the cross calls us to repent or change direction; to take on board the way of the cross. It is never too late. Normally one has to change and change again; to keep on following the cross, with the support of Christ and one another. Newman said, ‘To live is to change and to be perfect is to change often’.

This cross of dust reminds us of our mortality. It also reminds us of that invisible cross of baptism which – like Spartacus – binds us together in glory.

Amen.

CHURCH SERVICES: SUNDAY 2ND FEBRUARY 2020

CHURCH SERVICES: SUNDAY 2ND FEBRUARY 2020

All are Welcome at any of our Services

across the Benefice this Sunday, 

THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE

CANDLEMAS

8.00 am Barrowden Church Holy Communion (CA) BCP
9.30 am Duddington Church Holy communion (CA)
11.00 am Morcott Church Holy Communion (CA)
5.00 pm  Tixover Church Candlemas  (CA)

Candlemas  (CA)

Readings : Heb.2.14-end  Luke 2.22-40  BCP. Gal.4. 1-7  Luke 2. 22 – 40

CA = The Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong AR= Mrs Anne Robinson (Reader)
BCP= Book of Common Prayer

CANDLEMAS ST LUKES CHURCH TIXOVER 5.00PM 2ND FEBRUARY 2020

CANDLEMAS ST LUKES CHURCH TIXOVER 5.00PM 2ND FEBRUARY 2020

CANDLEMAS
ST LUKE’S CHURCH – TIXOVER

PLEASE COME AND JOIN US IN OUR CANDLE-LIT CHURCH ON
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 2ND 5.00PM

We give our thanks to Grantscape for awarding us a substantial grant from
The Mick George Community Fund and Messenger Construction Ltd for
carrying out the contract on time and for providing the skills needed to
work on our ancient church, and to John Barker for acting as
our Contract Manager for Tixover PCC.

Where we will give thanks to all those who recently contributed to the
extensive restoration works.
Wine and our usual Tixover Hospitality.

 

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices. Sunday 29th DECEMBER 2019 – – –

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices. Sunday 29th DECEMBER 2019 – – –

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.

 Sunday 29th December 2019:

 Sunday 29th December 2019: Christmas I

Please remember in your prayers those who are sick:  Brian, Joe, Pat Simmonds, Ray Kilsby, Honor Harris, Christine Garland, Christine Behets, Robin Rowland and Ann Fowler.

In our wider prayers we continue to remember the Deanery of Towcester and its Rural Dean, Paul McLeod. We pray for holidaymakers, party revellers and our emergency services at this busy time.

Give thanks too for the generosity towards the foodbank in the Benefice.

BARROWDEN:

More intercessors required!  If you would like to help in this way – with training – please speak to Christopher or Daphne Lovering.

The church Wi-Fi code is helpfuldiamond548

MORCOTT:

The Carol service collection raised £237 for Crisis at Christmas. Thank you!

The church is open every day over the Christmas & New Year period: bring visiting family/friends to appreciate its beauty, or just drop in for a quiet prayer.

 

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

STILL TIME – every Monday 5.30-6pm in Church

 

 

 

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens

 

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices. Sunday 22nd DECEMBER 2019 – –

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices. Sunday 22nd DECEMBER 2019 – –

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.

 Sunday 22nd December 2019: Advent IV.

Please remember in your prayers those who are sick:  Brian, Joe, Pat Simmonds, Ray Kilsby, Honor Harris, Chris Behets and Christine Garland.

In our wider prayers we continue to remember the Deanery of Towcester and its Rural Dean, Paul McLeod. We pray also for refugees an all those who try and assist them.

Foodbank: Our local foodbanks report an increase of 23% on last year. Please give generously through your local church during Advent.

BARROWDEN:

Midnight mass on Christmas Eve 11.30.

More intercessors required!  If you would like to help in this way – with training – please speak to Christopher or Daphne Lovering.

The church Wi-Fi code is helpfuldiamond548

MORCOTT:

Next services: Christmas Eve Mass 10pm Tuesday 24th Dec, then Sunday 5 January.

The church is open every day over Christmas & New Year: bring visiting family/friends to appreciate its beauty, or just drop in for a quiet prayer.

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

Thanks to Carole and Tony and all the carol singers who raised over £240 for a local charity. Thanks too to Derek for the refreshments!

WEDNESDAY 25th DECEMBER 11am – Christmas Communion service.

STILL TIME – every Monday 5.30-6pm in Church

TIXOVER:

22nd December: sharing Carol service with at Duddington

Christmas Day Eucharist service at 9.30 am all welcome (Dress to be warm).

 

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens