Read Canon Mike's reflection for Tuesday, 18 March, 2021.
Last week, a very poignant memorial was held online for those healthcare workers who have lost their lives through this pandemic – nearly a thousand of them. As one of them, even if I do not work clinically in the hospitals now and my clinical work was never in the melting pot of A and E, which it has been for many of these individuals, we are still brothers and sisters, all people together striving to heal, to cure, to help, to care for our patients. In a very real sense, they have given their lives for the sake of others; that many patients indeed did live, alongside the many thousands that we have sadly lost. And although the vaccines bring us hope for a brighter, more normal future, we must still remember those lives which are still being lost – the numbers being much lower than in recent weeks; but each one is still a mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter…..an individual – unique and distinctive, who loved and is loved.
Last Sunday, mothering Sunday, will have been very different for many people – not least with the lockdown and not being able to gather, greet, express love and thanks for our mothers, the mother church or those who mother us. But also remember our mothers no longer with us. In Newsham park, near to where I live, it is lovely to see the daffodils out in a glorious bloom – the picture above is from just one corner of the park. Interestingly, I estimated about a thousand in just this small patch…. In my rural home parish of Ribchester in Lancashire, many volunteers would normally have gathered on the Saturday before Mothering Sunday, to lovingly put together small bunches of the flowers, to give out to our mothers and indeed all our loved ones. A lovely gesture…..back then, I would take some home to mum and even some years I received some myself – from the members of the church choir who thanked me for mothering them! Bless them!
The lectionary for Sunday offered two alternative gospel readings for Mothering Sunday – both recounting our Lady, Jesus’ mother Mary, within the life of Jesus. The first (Luke chapter 2) at the presentation within the temple, when Simeon reveals to all, including Mary and Joseph, precisely who their baby boy will be. The path that he will take, to bring us salvation and eternal life – that we might live. A path, though, that will bring sorrow and pain to Mary herself, as a sword will indeed pierce her own heart.
The second (John chapter 19) is at the foot of the cross; where the realities of Christ’s sacrifice are made abundantly clear. Like the unimaginable pain of those who have seen and witnessed their offspring pass away before them, Mary is there seeing the boy whom she brought into the world, taken from it in such a cruel and savage way; his life as a ransom for many…..that we might live.
Lent allows us, indeed encourages us, to consider and reflect upon the life of our Lord; born, raised, died and resurrected for us. But so too those who have loved and nurtured us in our lifetime; those who still do – even as we support and pray for others, they pray and support us too…..that we might live our lives for the good of others. That is something for which, for myself, I am truly grateful.
With my love and prayers for you all; God bless you and go gently…that we might live daily with the love of God in our hearts.
Canon Mike 😊
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