Some people are not sure if this is supposed to be mothering Sunday or Mother’s day. I prefer mothering Sunday because it gives more attention to activity of mothering rather than on particular group of people.
Mothering is more than just giving birth. Some say giving birth is the easy bit.
9 months of expectation followed by 24 hours of excitement and pain. These are just a drop n the ocean compared to the years of pain and frustration, which are about to come your way after the child is born!
For mothering is really about two things both of which have to be done with huge amounts of love. One is the protection of the child and the other is development of that child to maturity.
Our reading today Paul takes about putting on the right clothes. We all have spent ages dressing children why? There are two reasons. One practical and hygienic and the other social.
The practical reason is so they are protected and kept warm or cool. We also teach them how it is put on and that it’s clean. The other reason the social one is so they are acceptable to others and fit in.
But that is only part of our task we dress the to develop them. For we are also teaching them to do all that for them selves. Put the clothes on for themselves Put on the right things at the right time Put them on in the right way and make sure they are clean.
This does not just apply to clothes, this applies to every thing we do for children. What Paul says was meant for a church but it could equally to parents and children. Paul says the church must get rid of thing it wears that are unbecoming and put on things appropriate to the new family we have joined.
Once everyone was little better than a slum dweller living on a rubbish heap, as many do in the third world, now we are princes and princesses, living in the palace of king Jesus so we need to wear the new clothes he provides. For when we become Christians, we join a new family Father God’s family.
Now he could have said put on success, fame, and power but he does not, for what we wear effects what we are and what we do. Success, fame, and power are dangerous things and very few are string enough to have them and use them with out hurting themselves and others.
Remember Jesus is more concerned with the content of our characters that the scale of our achievements. That is how he thinks of us as his children. Now we want the best for our children, but so much of what we are told to do is about developing skills, abilities, and intelligence. Not about Character.
According to St Paul, the key values, the Christlike character we should dress our selves are: Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, Bearing with each other and forgiving each other, forgiving as the Lord forgave us. And putting on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
The sort of forgiveness Jesus wants is a huge and wonderful thing and it starts long before anything goes wrong. It is the giving of complete forgiveness. And as far as God is concerned, everything is forgotten. Then and only than can there be true forgiveness and new life. But if you fail and know you have failed, and if then when you are truly sorry and you find forgiveness, then the liberation that is found is truly life changing. The child who knows all this will be more secure in themselves and their world, and more affirmed and content. They will be wiser than their years, and is more likely to become a mature and well-balanced adult.
And all this is best learned from all those who mother us if they understand it because they have been forgiven too. If you can teach and model true forgiveness to your child, it is probably one of the best things you can do. Any child who knows what it is to be forgiven and is able to forgive freely from its heart has an almost God like personality. The point is we are all children of God. Even Jesus calls himself our elder brother. It is he who goes before us and brings us to God. It is he and asks for us to be forgiven, and he does this even at those times when we do not want to be forgiven our sins yet. Now we know that when child disobeys us, say when they go out into the cold with out a coat. We know it can be dangerous for them and we are right to tell them off. But God commands us to dress properly at all times because of what it cost him to give us to us.
This is Mothering Sunday we should be praying to the father so we will all be better parents. And to say thank you for those who cared us so well. Let us also rediscover today how to teach our children to forgive. Let us do that by learning how to forgive ourselves. And finally let us get our forgiveness from God. We would never dress our children in rags. Our heaven father does not want us to dress in rags either.Let us put off the dress of this world and put on the royal robes of Jesus, which are freely and lovingly given to us. And let us walk in joy peace and freedom that is ours. And let us walk in love. The love that can only be found and shared, when we forgive because we know we are forgiven. Amen.