SUNDAY REFLECTIONS

MOTHERING SUNDAY

READINGS

Luke 2:33-35
Simeon tells Mary and Joseph what the child Jesus would become

John 19:25b-27
Mary stands beside Jesus on the cross

REFLECTION

In the two readings for Mothering Sunday we are shown a mother (Mary) at the beginning of her son’s life and at its end.

Jesus was brought to the Temple when he was forty days old for what was known as the Rite of Purification. At such a young age no one knows what will become of a child. So imagine Mary and Joseph’s bewilderment when Simeon told them: “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and salvation of many in Isael. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sword, will break your own heart.”

Simeon’s words eventually came true, as the life of Jesus reveals. Yet Mary stood by her son and was there for him even at his crucifixion.

Mary is often cited as the supreme example of motherhood and so it is appropriate that we hear about her on Mothering Sunday. Set beside her mothers might not compare very well. But every one of us has a mother (and father) who gave us life and did the best they could for us.

So on this Mothering Sunday spend a while to reflect upon those who created and influenced us most. If a visit isn’t possible, there’s always the telephone and e-mail, or maybe a prayer to our heavenly Father that they are looked after.

PRAYER

God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself: strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and in sorrow we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

29th March

READING – John chapter 11, verses 1-45
Tears at the death and rising of Lazarus

The Gospel reading includes an account of the death of Lazarus and his being raised to life again. In it we find the shortest verse in the whole Bible. Verse 35 records that: ‘Jesus wept.’

There are a number of occasion where the Bible records Jesus weeping. In this passage He wept when His friends were hurting.

Lazarus had become very sick so his sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus to come and heal him. But by the time Jesus arrived Lazarus had already died. Jesus saw Mary weeping and was deeply moved.

As we read the passage we find Jesus not simply consoling the bereaved but acting in whatever practical ways that were open to Him. His actions revealed God’s glory and His own power to heal as Lazarus walked from the tomb, alive again.

Tears of sadness became into tears of joy.

We all have tears of joy and of sadness. Each of us can identify with Martha, Mary and their friends. We can find comfort in sharing our feelings when our emotions are stirred and we find ourselves forced to face times of great anxiety and distress.

It’s good to comfort one another and to do whatever we can to strengthen and support those with tears in their eyes. Sometimes a cuddle or simple word of encouragement is all that is needed. We learn from Jesus that we also need to offer practical help wherever we can. Little acts of kindness can mean such a lot.

A comforting lesson this passage provides is the assurance that whatever the cause of our tears – be they tears of joy or of sadness – Jesus weeps with us. Just as Mary and Martha knew they could call upon Jesus for help, so we know we can call upon Him not only in our times of sorrow and need but also to share with Him our tears of joy.

PRAYER

Dear Jesus,
it is comforting to know that when we weep you share our tears of sorrow and of joy. As we thank you for the ways you comfort us we are encouraged by the knowledge that you have power over death and the grave and that one day we will be with you in heaven – where there will be no more tears but eternal joy.
Our praise and thanks is for ever and ever. Amen

BIBLE QUIZ

The answers to this Quiz will be found in the Reading
(John chapter 11, verses 1-14)

(1) Where did Lazarus live ?
(2) What were the names of his sisters ?
(3) What ‘act’ was Mary remembered for ?
(4) What did Jesus say that Lazarus’ illness would lead to ?
(5) Where did Jesus go before he went to see Lazarus ?
(6) What did Jesus tells his disciples he was going to do for Lazarus ?
(7) How many days had Lazarus been in the tomb ?
(8) What did Jesus say about believing in him ?
(9) What made Jesus weep ?
(10) Why did Jesus speak aloud to his Father ?
(11) What did Jesus cry with a loud voice ?
(12) What resulted from this miracle ?

QUIZ ANSWERS

(1) John chapter 11 verse 1; (2) John 11:1; (3) John 11:2; (4) John 11:4; (5) John 11:7: (6) John 11:11; (7) John 11:17; (8) John 11:25; (9) John 11:33; (10) John 11:42; (11) John 11:43; (12) John 11:45

A VIRTUAL CHURCH

Worshippers confined to their homes due to coronavirus can be part of Virtual Church worship provided by the media.
Religious broadcasts are regularly available on the radio and television:-
BBC SOMERSET at 8am on Sunday
(95.5 MHz, Freeview Channel 722)
BBC ONE tv Sunday Worship at 11.30am
RADIOS 4 & 3 carry their usual Services during the week
Check Broadcasting Schedules for up to date timings and details

LOCAL INITIATIVE

The local Ministry Team will be producing each Saturday a brief act of worship which they will be circulating to as many people as possible by e-mail. If you would like to ensure you are included please contact Martyn Hamlin (martynhamlyn@hotmail.com)

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