The Good Mother

Richard MitchellI have a confession; Mothering Sunday is way off being my favourite Sunday.

On any Sunday there are a lot of expectations around in congregations about how worship of God will be and how fellowship in church will meet our needs. On Mothering Sunday the whole thing is ramped up to the ‘nth degree.

Mothers’ Day (have you tried looking for a card with Mothering Sunday on it?) is one of the few Sundays when church and society coincide on a day of emotive family feeling.

Mothering, by mothers and fathers and anyone who exercises those human qualities of care, nurture and compassion, is worthy of celebration. Our attention rightly turns to those who have significantly mothered us.

It’s just that there is a massive flux of feeling that swirls around on this day. Mothers who feel they’re lacking as role models. Feelings of regret and guilt about neglected relationships in families. Mothers who were terrific but set standards we just can’t live up to. Mothers who’ve died before we could really say thank-you. Mothers who’ve lost children and need to have their grief validated.

And the church adds to the big theme with its own sense of the mothering of the Church as one that aims to provide all that we need in faith’s journey.

Great, but, tough to live up to and encompass all on one Sunday. What can we do?

In Emma Percy’s book, ‘What clergy do: even when it looks like nothing’, she arrives at the conclusion that all we can be is ‘good enough’.

So, let’s ease off on all those big expectations and just be ‘good enough’, whether we’re mothers, fathers, the Church, or anyone who does their best to love and care.

Revd Canon Richard Mitchell, Vicar of Shurdington, Badgeworth and Witcombe with Bentham

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