Sunday, 14th March

Together in Prayer
4th Sunday of Lent
Mothering Sunday

Greeting
O Lord, open our lips,
And our mouth shall declare your praise!
Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
According to your judgment, give us life.


The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.
Amen.


Blessed are you, God of compassion and mercy,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In the darkness of our sin,
your light breaks forth like the dawn
and your healing springs up for deliverance.
As we rejoice in the gift of your saving help,
sustain us with your bountiful Spirit
and open our lips to sing your praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Preparing our hearts
Psalm 51
1 Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness;
according to the abundance of your compassion
blot out my offences.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my faults
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you only have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
5 So that you are justified in your sentence
and righteous in your judgement.
6 Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy spirit from me.
7 Give me again the joy of your salvation
and sustain me with your gracious spirit;
8 Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked
and sinners shall return to you.
9 Deliver me from my guilt, O God,
the God of my salvation,
and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.


Who is it that you seek?
We seek the Lord our God.
Do you seek Him with all your heart?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your soul?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your mind?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your strength?
Amen. Christ, have mercy.


Prayers of Penitence
Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.
Amen.


Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen


Colossians 3:12-17
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

John 19: 25b – 27
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.


Thought for the week: Rev Sarah Hobbs
I don’t know about you, but I felt engulfed by the emotional agony of John’s account of Jesus’ mother Mary steadfastly remaining at the foot of his cross; then almost immediately infused with the warmth of Jesus’ care for her as he says, ‘Woman here is your son’ and to his beloved disciple John, ‘Here is your mother’. We feel the sheer strength of that loving bond as Jesus ensures his mother is taken care of.
This weekend similar scenes will be played out in many of our care homes as children will be allowed in to reconnect with their parents and rejuvenate that eternal bond of love that both have felt starved of during the past months.
We have plenty of examples in our bibles telling us of the potent love of a mother figure being shared within a family. Consider Ruth and her relationship of loving care for her mother-in-law Naomi. After Ruth’s husband died Naomi urged Ruth to return to her own country and find herself another husband, and we remember the phrase Ruth used, ‘wherever you go I will go and where you stay, I will stay also.’
We could consider Hannah and her sacrificial love for her long awaited son Samuel. As in answer to God fulfilling her prayers, she gave him back into God’s service to live in the temple with Eli and he went on to serve as prophet, priest, and judge.
Or we could remember the Levite woman who for love of her son placed him in a rush basket in the hope that he might be saved from the Pharaoh’s edict. And so it was that Moses lived to become the greatest Jewish leader and prophet.
We sense that incredibly strong bond that can exist between mother and child and appreciate Mary, chosen by God to be the mother of his son Jesus, to be for us an example of strength, integrity, and warmth against all the odds.
God also speaks to us as a mother figure as both Matthew and Luke quote Jesus in his lament over Jerusalem. ‘How often have I desired to gather your children together ‘as a hen gathers her brood under her wings’. You will recognise the phrase from our Eucharistic Prayer at certain times of the year, as God calls us to come and feed from him in the sacrament. God presents for us both the mother and the father figure and we are his children.
The sight of the hen with her chicks was something that we frequently witnessed when we used to keep hens and loved to put a broody hen on a clutch of eggs and when hatched to put her with her chicks out in a run in the sun. We would sometimes see her and hear her calling and chiding her chicks, to come quickly into the safety of her outstretched wings, as she noticed the shadow of a perceived predator pass overhead, and that could apply to any of us mothers too; hence the phrase The Mother Church is sometimes used for the principle church in an area that might call us to gather together for special occasion.
A wise person once said, ‘God couldn’t be everywhere, so he made mothers!’
Amen.


Collect for Mothering Sunday
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


Intercessions

Lord, from before we are born you surround us with your love;
from before we could understand you have been our God;
and even before we were ready to respond
your grace has been sufficient for our need.
We come to you on this Mothering Sunday
to celebrate not only the love of parents
but the privilege of belonging to your church,
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.


Lord, we pray for mothers who watch over children who are ill
and children who watch over their suffering mothers;
We remember mothers who are apart from their children
and mothers who grieve because their children have died.
For those who longed for children and who have none
For those without their mothers because of illness or death
And who, in their longing, know themselves to be alone;
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.


Lord, we pray for children who feeling abused or neglected,
for children missing their mothers on this day
and all who suffer the impact of family breakdown.
Lord, we ask that you would be a light in the darkness.
We know you are a tender and compassionate God
who surrounds us all in your loving embrace;
and holds us always in your care.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.


Lord, you are father and mother to us, an ever-loving parent,
more faithful than we can imagine.
Bless our family relationships.
Help us to reflect your love in the way we love our parents,
our children, our brothers, and sisters and all with whom we live.
Loving Father we love and trust you.
Surround us and those we care for with your everlasting love.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.


Finally Lord, we pray for all those Mothers who are no longer with us.
May they know the joy and the light of your heavenly kingdom.
Let us remember them in a moment of silence…..
Merciful Father we ask that you accept these prayers for the sake
of your son our Saviour Jesus Christ
.


We join all our prayers into one, by saying the Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.


The Blessing
Lord, set your blessing on us
as we begin this day together.
Confirm in us the truth
by which we rightly live;
confront us with the truth
from which we wrongly turn.
We ask not for what we want
but for what you know we need,
as we offer this day and ourselves
for you and to you
through Jesus Christ, our Saviour
Amen.


The Grace

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And the love of God
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all, evermore. Amen