Print

Mothering Sunday

on .

jesusSERMON FOR MOTHERING SUNDAY 2017....

Please read Isaiah 49: 13-16; 1 Sam 1:21-28 and John 19: 23-27

AS WE CELEBRATE MOTHERING SUNDAY, WHAT WE ARE REALLY CELEBRATING IS NOT MOTHERS – AS IMPORTANT AS THESE ARE...

MOTHERING SUNDAY IS REALLY ABOUT THE SURROUNDING LOVE OF MOTHER-CHURCH. OUT OF THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION LIFE OF JESUS THE CHURCH WAS BORN.

SO TODAY WE WORSHIP/CELEBRATE GOD AND HIS FAITHFULNESS, HIS LOVE – A LOVE THAT'S NOT UNLIKE A MOTHER'S...

NOWHERE IS THIS LOVE MORE EVIDENT OR EXTRAORDINARILY DISPLAYED THAN ON AND FROM, THE CROSS WHERE JESUS DIED.

HERE WE COME BACK TO THE HEART OF WORSHIP – TO WHAT MATTERS MOST

WHEN ALL ELSE IS STRIPPED AWAY, WE HAVE JESUS NAKED ON THE CROSS – DYING AND SPEAKING...

 

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

"They divided my clothes among them

and cast lots for my garment."

"So this is what the soldiers did..."

The four soldiers TOOK his clothes...

The soldiers took no mind of the man dying there; no notice of the mourners...

They were concerned with money and possessions; they took what they could get; they took his clothes...

They weren't concerned that they were taking his life or that his naked frame was being torn apart at the seams. No, just worried about the garment being torn...

So this is what the soldiers did.

There is a pathetic truth here – the earthly estate of Jesus amounted to very little – five items of clothing and the 5th item – and the chances are his mother made that garment – underwear...

And there is a great contrast (a chasm) between the indifference and the callousness of the soldiers and the love of God...

Against the vast and dark canvass of Chapter 19 John records a tiny fragment which shines in darkness...

Whilst others (near to the cross) were taking and possessing and exploiting he (Jesus) was giving; "As Jesus is crucified..." (!)

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, "Woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The words of Jesus from the cross all speak of his giving...

He GIVES –

Forgiveness to his torturers and enemies – Father, forgive them!

He Gives

The promise of Paradise (in Luke 23) to a penitent crook – a man who has done nothing good with his life, except (perhaps) be truly sorry for the mess he has made of that life...

He Gives

The asking price (His Life) for Divine Justice demanded by His Father...

He Gives

His life for the sins & the redemption of the world – God gave his greatest treasure; God gave himself...

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life!"

He had next to nothing to give in the way of an earthly inheritance – but what he does have – is of inestimable worth - he will give completely.

There may not have been enough clothing to go round but there was enough love:

"Woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother."

Here too he gives:

His forlorn, grieving mother is given a son - and his best friend (John) is given a mother – astonishing, really!

THIS is what Jesus did...

As the oldest brother in the family it was his duty to take care of his mother's future – to provide for her...there were no welfare security nets available then...but it's not from duty but out of tangible love for his mother – it was an agony for her, losing a son...

Old Simeon's words 30 some years before may have haunted her:

"Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed, and a sword will pierce even your own soul," speaking, here, to Mary, "to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:34)

In the midst of his own physical and spiritual pain he was mindful – he gave thought to – his mother; he gave (entrusted) his mother's care in to his best friend...

He thinks of others first.

From the cross he will have scanned the scene and saw his mother and friend...

I can't help but think of Redmond's words about the crucified Jesus, "You took the fall and thought of me – above all"

Here then is love (deep as the ocean) that doesn't possess and keep - that isn't selfish, but it is love that is shared;

And the love that lets go – perhaps the hardest task for parent and child alike – we will have to let go of those we love...

This is like Hannah's mother love, too...

She knows her son Samuel's life is God's gift. She might have been expected to possess this child. Instead he is given back - dedicated - to God. Out of sheer gratitude and joy to the Lord – she gives the boy back to Him – he is taken to the temple.

28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord."

Even when those who have loved us – or tried the best way they know to love us – are far away or even if we are separated from them by death, we will still love them. "Can a mother forget?"

And Hannah will never lose that boy's love, either

Love remains...

And friendship remains...

And Mary remained. She was there, staying near to the cross because she was a mother.

In the eyes of the law Jesus was a criminal. But for Mary Jesus was her Son.

She was like most good-enough mothers – she'd be there (or available) through thick and thin...

For all that Jesus was (and is); he is still a mother's son...

"Good-enough mothers" (parents like you and I) look after their children and there are times – sometimes in completely unexpected ways – when good-enough children will look after their mothers...

Jesus honours Mary's sacrificial love, his mother's love –with his own...

Like all the best relationships there is "give and take".

"Woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother."

Here are words of comfort to all of those who were not or are not biological mothers...

Words of comfort, too, to all those sons and daughters who are or were fostered and adopted...

Words of true comfort to the widowed and orphaned...

They need fear no feelings of inferiority...

Jesus blesses them!

Give and take. Take care of each other...