Dunsford United Church Bulletin – May 9, 2021

Sunday May 9th, 2021

Prepared by Gloria Thurston

Call to Worship

Come and worship God, birth-giver to the world.  A mother’s love, and teaching is precious.  Today we come to know the mothers of our congregation.  May they be open to receive your courage and commitment in leading their children in the faith.  Strengthen them in this sacred task.

Lighting of the Candles

Light the Christ Candle and say, “We light this candle as a symbol of God’s presence here with us today.”  Light a second candle from the Christ Candle and say, “This candle represents Christ’s light in mothers all around the world.”

Acknowledgement of the Lands

We acknowledge honour and respect this land and the Anishnabeg/Mississauga people with whom Treaty 20, Williams Treaty, was signed, on the lands where we are, and we acknowledge also and give thanks for the lands and the people of treaties and unceded territories of all who are worshipping. It is up to all of us to live into truth, respect, reconciliation and right relations.

Opening Prayer

God, we thank you for the generations of women who have lived their lives on this earth.  We celebrate women of history who have taught us the lessons of the past.  We honour the women of our families who teach us how to love and how to live: women of our own stories who help us, guide us, and empower us to live in dignity.  You hover over us like a mother hen with her chicks.  You shelter us under your wing, and you love us with everlasting love.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

We Hear God’s Word 

Scripture reading: John 15:9-17 Good News Translation

I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13 The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. 14 And you are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. 17 This, then, is what I command you: love one another.

HYMN: “Mother and God” VU #280 (Words: Miriam Therese Winter)

Mother and God, to you we sing: wide is your womb, warm is your wing.

In you we live, move and are fed sweet, flowing milk, life giving bread.

Mother and God, to you we bring all broken hearts, all broken wings.

Reflection/Sermon:

Mother’s Day has been set aside to honour and show appreciation to our mothers.  For many years people wore a flower on Mother’s Day – red if your mother was still living, white if she had died.  It was a visible way of saying thank-you for life and for all the loving care.

The Bible is a source of guidance and direction for our lives.  What are some of the images of mothers and motherhood we see in the scriptures?  They are as diverse and challenging as models of women today.  There is no single image of the “holy mother,” yet every modern mother can find her story in the Bible.

Jochebed, Moses’ mother, was protective of her child.  Moses should have been killed with the rest of the boy babies, but his mother hid him and kept him alive.  She even arranged to be hired as wet nurse for Moses.  Jochebed was a clever and courageous mother.

Hannah is the praying mother of scripture.  She prayed for a son and her prayer was answered with the birth of Samuel.  She decided when he would go to the temple and took him.  It was her prayer, her promise from God and her time to act.

The Canaanite woman who had a daughter who was ill, models courage and daring.  She went to Jesus and asked for help, then defended herself from insult.  She won Jesus’ respect and her daughter was healed by him.

Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, let her son go his own way.  He should have been a priest like his father but became a wondering prophet.

What about Mary, the mother of Jesus?  Is she an example of a perfect mother?  She forgot about her twelve-year-old son and left him behind in the temple.  She only missed him after a full day’s journey.  She made mistakes as a mother, just as we all do.  But her son forgave her, and one of his last deeds was to see to her well-being after his death.

The single mother, raising a child alone in today’s harsh economic times, must be a fighter for her child’s rights just as Rebekah was when she obtained the patriarchal blessing for the younger son. 

These are some of the biblical mothers whose stories are our stories: strong, active, courageous mothers and women of faith.

Although all of us may not be mothers, all of us have a mother.  Whether we love and respect our mother, were disappointed or hurt by our mother, or don’t even know who she is, still, we have a mother.

Mothering brings joy and fulfillment to many women.  Is there any more tender expression than that of a mother holding her first-born in her arms?  The love of a mother for her child is akin to the love God has for each of us.  Robert Munsch illustrated it so well in Love You Forever.  The mother in the story holds her child in her arms through all of his trials, even when he is an adult.  As she does so, she sings to him the love song that is the title of the book.  At the end when she is old and frail, he goes to her, holds her in his arms, and lovingly sings the song to her.

As Jan Stobie shares, “I didn’t know being a mother would be a life sentence.  I expected two a.m. feedings to leave me exhausted but I knew it wouldn’t last.  I expected defiant two-year-olds to stretch my patience, but I knew that was just a phase.  The teenage years were challenging too.  I thought there would be a time when it would all be over, and I could let go of worry and responsibility.  As a grandmother, I now know that time never comes.  We continue to cuddle our children physically, mentally, and emotionally when they are hurt.  We never stop loving our child, no matter what.”

Knowing that I am not alone in the joy and heartache of motherhood makes all the difference.  I draw strength from the knowledge that God is with me always.  God comes to me through people, books, animals, using whatever method necessary to open my heart to the Spirit’s strength and wisdom.  In life, in death and even in motherhood, I am not alone.  Thanks be to God.

HYMN: “Would You Bless Our Homes and Families” VU #556 verse 1

Would you bless our homes and families, source of life who calls us here:

in our world of stress and tension teach us love that conquers fear.

Help us learn to love each other with a love that constant stays;

teach us when we face our troubles, love’s expressed in many ways.

CLOSING PRAYER:

God, guide, and direct us in our search to give and receive your love.  For those who are hurt and lonely, grant your gift of courage, for those who are sick, your gift of strength, and for those who see or fear change, your gift of wisdom.  We thank you for your gifts of love we have received through parents, children, friends, and strangers.  Lead us to love as we have been loved.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

REFRAIN: (read or sing) “Walk with Me” VU #649 refrain

Walk with me, I will walk with you and build the land that God has planned where love shines through.

RESOURCES:

Betty Turcott’s books – “There is a Season” and “Follow Me”

Rev. Janet Stobie – “Dipping Your Toes”

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH

Church Office Hours: Wed. 9-5 Tel: 705-793-2511

Email: dunsfordunitedchurch@bellnet.ca

Visit our new website: www.dunsfordunitedchurch.com

Supply Minister: Rev. Anne Hepburn

Confidential Email: annehepburn54@gmail.com

Cellphone: 416-305-1247

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