Mothering Sunday was originally the one day in the year where people would return to their childhood church, the church they were baptised in, the church where their family are; their mother church. Servants and workers would be given this day off to travel to where they were brought up, and they would take a gift and spend this day with their family. People would often take home a cake, a Simnel cake, with fruit and marzipan. It may be decored with 11 or 12 balls of marzipan to represent the disciples and Jesus. On the fourth Sunday of Lent each year, this was the custom.
What is the custom now? Buying cards, eating chocolate, sending flowers, going out for a meal, children creating crafts at school, taking breakfast to bed, buying jewellery, having spa days - all to celebrate mums. Now, there is nothing wrong with celebrating mums. In fact, it is a wonderful thing to do. Thankfully dads now have a day to be celebrated too, though it took a while longer for that day to catch on.
But what I want to ask is: how does time change the meaning of something?
I guess in this instance, the general concept is still the same - going home and spending time with family. But when did church and, maybe more importantly, when did God get taken out of that for so many people? The original Mothering Sunday was to go home to your mother church. We now go home to our mothers.
Does this say something about how we view church, about how we view the importance of our upbringing, about how we view our family, about how society relates to the commercialised world, about how we have to be percieved as outwardly showing our parents we love them, about how we view the importance of a community like a church community, about how we view God?
I have no answers, only questions and some ponderings.
Yesterday at church we talked about homecoming. Coming home. If you flick back to my last blog you will see a song we listened to that moved me beyond belief during that service. During our prayer of concern and hope, each section began 'beckoning God, you draw us home...'.
What is home, where is home, who is home to you?
Where is God beckoning you?
Will you follow?
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