Let’s all try and be mothers to each other at this really difficult time

Mary Copping and Liz Stuart, 22 March 2020

John 19: 25b–27

Liz: What does Mothering Sunday mean to you?

Mary: Well, it’s always been really important to me. My late husband was a war baby and his father was an American serviceman, part Fijian. He came over towards the end of the war, and his mother was an Englishwoman. His father went back to America and his mother died of tuberculosis, so Dr Barnardo’s home took him in along with his brother, and Dr Barnardo’s was his family. There he found family and friendships, and he was really grateful for all they did for him. Then he went into the army when he was a teenager, and he again found family and friends there.

When we married and had a family, Pete was so pleased that he’d got his own family. He valued his family greatly and he valued his friends. And I think that made us value even more our family and our friends.

At this time of distress and difficulty our family and our friends are vitally important to us, and we are seeing huge acts of kindness and love, which is God’s love being spread to our family, to our friends and to those in need. So we thank God for our families and friends and all that they do for us.

You don’t need to be a woman to have the qualities of being a mother – to protect and nurture.

Mary: So how about you? What does Mothering Sunday mean to you, Liz?

Liz: Well, I think of my own late mother, and I’m conscious of how lucky I was to have such a fantastic mother.

But I’ve been watching a wonderful programme on the BBC iPlayer which I’d recommend to you if you find yourself in self-isolation at the moment. There are two series of it; it’s called ‘Pose’, and it’s about the transgender community in New York in the 1980s and 90s. What used to happen is that young people who had been rejected by their own mothers and fathers for being gay or for being transgender throughout America would find their way to New York, where obviously they were really vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation and abuse. The transgender community in New York set up houses, and each house had a mother – a transgender mother – who would gather these young people under her wing, fiercely protect them and nurture them and keep them safe.

That reminds me that you don’t need to be a woman to have the qualities of being a mother. I think, at this time, there are a lot of people in the world, many of them quite elderly, who need mothering. They need protecting, they need nurturing. I’m reminded of the fact that Jesus used this wonderful image of God as a mother hen, gathering her children under her wing. That is what God is like, and that is what God wants to do with us now. So let’s all try and be mothers to each other at this really difficult time.

View the sermon here (4: 45)