Connecting with Culture
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It means having my annual breakfast in bed, two still-sticky cards from my 5-year-old and 3-year-old, and (hurrah!) it’ll be daddy’s turn to play dodge-the-weetabix with my 7-month-old son.
Yet Mothering Sunday has become a slightly awkward moment for many of our churches. Of course we want to celebrate mothers, but what about those women who have lost or never been able to conceive a child? Or those who have chosen not to have children? How can we both celebrate the mothers among us and include the rest of us in the process?
Perhaps we can allow Mothering Sunday to have a more profound purpose, going further than the celebration of a few. It can become an opportunity to grow together as disciples, whether we are parents or not. What could God teach the whole body of Christ through the daily experience of mothers?
In Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline, Catherine McNiel reminds us that the miracle of the incarnation was not that Jesus was a man or that he was God – but that he was God and man. He, the Holy One, had his nappy changed and nose wiped. Perhaps Mary also regularly played dodge-the-first-century-weetabix with him.
It is because of this miraculous incarnation that we can see the fingerprints of God in the very physical, bodily activities of a mother’s life. The daily round of humdrum activities echoes Christ’s service to us. Their ever-wakeful vigilance through the dark of the night reminds us of the Father’s constant loving gaze. The love that carries them through the pain of labour shows something of the enduring love of our Saviour. And the creative miracle that happens within their bodies is unmistakably the gift of a Creator God.
A mother’s discipleship journey uniquely reveals something of who God is. But we need stories of each disciple’s journey – male or female, single or married, childfree or a parent – to create a deeper, fuller understanding of the wonderful God we serve.
We can choose to walk that collective journey of discovery by shifting our focus this Sunday. As well as saying ‘thank you’, try asking ‘how have you grown as a disciple through being a mother?’
We may all discover more of the glory of God through her answer.
CEO, Curran Household
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