St Francis, Terriers - Mothering Sunday (26.03.2017)

Tony Dickinson

Who has assemblies at their school?

Whose school sings songs during assembly?

How many of you sing the song about the “Magic Penny”?

Can anyone tell me what the magic penny is?

Why is it magic?

Because if you give it away you end up having more….

Hannah in our first reading this morning was like that. She loved her husband Elkanah and she longed to have a child with him. But she couldn’t. So when she and her husband went to worship God at a place called Shiloh, she prayed for a child, and God heard her prayer and, as we heard right at the beginning of our first reading, she had a little boy.

We also heard what she did when her little boy was born. She didn’t do what you or I might have done, and tried to keep him all to herself. She went back to Shiloh when her little boy was old enough to feed himself and she gave him to the priest there as an offering to God. She gave him away, like that magic penny, and she ended up having much more than she might have expected, because her little boy grew up to be a great leader of God’s people, a prophet, a man to whom

people turned for guidance in difficult times.

But it must have been hard for Hannah to do that, to give away the child she had longed for so much. Her story reminds us that being a mum is not all flowers and chocolates. It can involve a lot of hurt as well.

This week, particularly, there will be a lot of mothers who are hurting. We think especially of the mothers of the French schoolchildren injured in Wednesday’s attack on Parliament. We think of Michelle Palmer, PC Keith Palmer’s widow, having to explain to their five-year-old daughter that daddy is never coming home again. And we remember an elderly woman in mid-Wales under police protection as she tries to make sense of what her son has done and what was done to him.

How, I wonder, is she feeling?

As we think about these mothers, we remember the words of Simeon in our Gospel story, foreseeing the future of Mary’s six-week-old son and warning her of the pain that is to come, and we hold before God all those who mourn the death of Keith Palmer, and of the others killed on Wednesday. We remember, too, those French schoolchildren and all the others who were injured or traumatised by what they experienced that day. And we pray for mothers everywhere, that they may be strengthened to bear whatever burdens they have to carry, entrusting them to the son of Mary, whose death gives meaning and value to those other deaths – to all deaths – and whose resurrection brings hope and life and joy to a grieving world.

In a moment of quiet, let us surround our mothers and all mothers with our love. …

Let us pray: Dear God, we give thanks for mothers everywhere, and we pray for them. We pray for mothers who are happy and for those who are hurting. We pray for our own mothers and for all who have mothered us. We remember those who have died and those who are still very much part of our lives today. Bless them and bless us, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.