Refreshing thoughts on Mothering Sunday
Once upon a time, a preacher found himself puzzling about what to say on Mothering Sunday, just as he did every year. As ever, he would be faced with the dilemma of how to meet so many different needs: those who love to be mums, those who want to be mums, those want their mums, and those who want this particular Sunday to be over. On this particular occasion, just to make matters worse, he had to think of something to say not only to his congregation, but to a national radio audience too. What to say?
That was when he stumbled upon an old tradition of mothering Sunday as ‘refreshment Sunday’. Falling as it did exactly halfway through Lent, and having as its text on that day the feeding of the 5000, it did not seem like a day for fasting. Instead, the Lenten rules were relaxed, and those going home to visit their mothers on this special day were permitted to eat a nice meal with them. Thus refreshment Sunday was born, and thus a two minute radio script was written. As you can see here, the preacher asked people in the script what they could do to refresh someone on that day.
On the day of the broadcast a senior project manager of an enormous construction project nearby was listening to the radio in his car. That very morning he had been praying about what do to in his role as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for his company. He heard the broadcast, spoke to the preacher, pulled some strings, and over the next few weeks a project was born. By the summer of that year an inaccessible and overgrown garden at a group of homes for disabled people had been transformed. All parts of the garden were now accessible by wheelchair and flowerbeds were raised. Refreshment indeed!
Of course it’s not a fairy story, and it did really happen. That little two minute radio broadcast happened to reach the right ears, and in doing so unleashed a chain of events which led to real, practical blessing. Isn’t that what we pray for every time we preach, though? Don’t we long for the word of God to touch hearts and unlock goodness and blessing for others?
I repeat the tale here for fellow preachers who approach the minefield of Mothering Sunday with extreme caution. Be encouraged – your words may have far more effect than you anticipate.