Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally known as Mothering Sunday, in Surrey it was also called Refreshment Sunday or Pudding-Pie Sunday. This was a day in Lent when you could take a break from fasting. Nowadays it is more commercial, and known as Mother’s Day.
Whatever we call it, we know that today we honour our mothers and show appreciation of their love. The bond between mother and child is one of the strongest bonds there is. It is the first experience of love that a baby will have. We will often use the word mothering to express care in many other situations too – an adult might say they were mothered by a grandmother figure, a teacher or a nurse, and Mother Theresa was literally a mother to so many abandoned children.
How is it that we can love like this? The apostle John says “we love because He first loved us” ( 1 John 4:19). The mother and child bond is a reflection of the love God has for his children, all of us, without exception.
For most, this is a day of joy but for others it is a day of grief or unfulfilled longing. Some are yearning to have their first child. Some feel unloved by their mothers. Some are separated from their children by marriage breakdown. Some are grieving a child who has taken a wrong turning in life.
But all of us, whatever our situation, on Mother’s Day and on every other day too, can be assured that we are loved as Gods children. Paul promises in today’s amazing reading from Ephesians “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us.”