Today is a day which, in the Christian Calendar, is known by a number of different names. Today is Refreshment Sunday/Mothering Sunday/Mid-Lent Sunday/Rose Sunday. It is always held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, however the date will vary due to the movable date of Easter. Rose Sunday refers to the colour of the vestments used. Today is also sometimes known as Refreshment Sunday. It is a day which stands towards the middle of the season of Lent, and traditionally, a certain amount of relaxation of Lent was allowed.|
The origin of Mothering Sunday can also be traced to the fact that in the 1600s, children after the age of ten left their homes for jobs as apprentices or domestic servants. It was considered important that these children be allowed to visit their home and mother church once a year. Accordingly, once in a year, in the middle of the Lent the children were given leave by their employers to visit their "Mother Church", the Cathedral of the area or Cathedral of their hometown. As they walked home along the country lanes on Mothering Sunday, children would pick wild flowers or primroses to take to church or give to their mothers. Often they brought a gift with them, a “mothering cake” – a kind of fruitcake with two layers of marzipan, known as simnel cake. Over the years the customs connected with Mothering Sunday have changed and today the sentiments in various countries are similar.
Here in our Diocese of the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands we mark this day with a special service and procession for young persons, to Christ Church Cathedral, the “Mother Church of the Diocese. So today’s Refreshment Sunday / Mothering Sunday / Mid-Lent Sunday is a reminder to take stock, take food for the journey, so that although we remain firmly grounded in the present, we set our sights with courage on our hope of the future.
Take a moment and ask yourself: Who is a person in your life with whom you struggle? Who is it you dismiss or perhaps reject at times? What is it they do or don’t do that triggers this reaction in you? I am sure we all have at least one person who irritates us. It may be someone who gets on our nerves and we are irritated when they are around us or it might be an individual who has hurt, criticized, or ignored us at some point.
No matter what the situation is, Jesus continually challenges us to be open and loving with others — ALL others! As we know, this is not an easy call. However, if we profess to be followers of Jesus, then we must follow in his footsteps, even when it is difficult or challenging. Today may we pray for one another. Let us support each other with prayer, asking Jesus to give each of us the grace we need when we see someone coming down the hall whom we would prefer not to encounter. Hopefully, if we strive to do this, the people who struggle with us may sense a difference in us and experience an authentic welcome rather than a “token hello.”
We all have heard the question: “What would Jesus do?” Today if we get irritated or angry, may we pause for a moment and simply breathe in the presence of Jesus for a few seconds. If we do this, Jesus will help us respond with love.
Rev’d. Fr. Colin Humes