Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mothering Sunday

Sunday 18th March 2012

Five o'clock on a beautiful Spring day
after the last of several varied services to mark Mothering Sunday
The ancients used to say that God was to be found concealed by cloud: his glory was too great for humans to bear and so it had to be veiled.  The metaphor still makes sense.  [Look out for my "thought for the month" on a separate page in April.]
     Some of the less formal of today's services involved everyone eating Simnel cake and children receiving flowers that had been blessed to present to their mothers  --  or to anyone else who looks after them and shows them love.  Mothering Sunday originated with Christians visiting "Mother Church".  In the days when young people went "into service" (as footmen and housemaids), they were given mid-Lent Sunday off so that they could make the journey home.  On the way they picked flowers which they gave to their mothers.  Sometimes their mothers had made Simnel cake ready for Easter (This traditionally has eleven marzipan balls on top representing the eleven disciples who remained loyal to Jesus.  After betraying Jesus, Judas Iscariot was not there to celebrate his resurrection.)  The mothers shared the Simnel cake with the children who had come home for Mothering Sunday.  So in quite a lot of churches we eat Simnel cake today  --  on mid-Lent Sunday, which is also called "Refreshment Sunday" when we can have one day off from our Lenten fast.  It resumes tomorrow  --  so no more eating of whatever we have given up for Lent.  Roll on Easter!

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