Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Spirit of Mother

The celebration of Mother has a long history. It dates back to the time of ancient Greece and Rome. It is not merely, as some would suggest, a creation of the greeting cards company to make money out of us. The celebrations of mother and motherhood has been with us for many centuries. In Britain Mothering Sunday was about returning home either to family and or the Mother Church. Returning to a place of total acceptance and love, a place where the love within us can grow, a place of nurture.

 These days Mothering Sunday in the UK has become known as Mother’s Day, following the American tradition that is celebrated in May, and not the middle Sunday of Lent.

Mothering Sunday, Mother’s Day, whatever its actual true origins is enshrined in this image of returning home, and this sense of belonging to something more than ourselves. Whether that is actually of children returning to the family home having been working away or of people returning to the mother church. Either way it’s about returning home to a place of safety; it is about returning home to a place of renewal, of re-birth, not only for ourselves but for others too; it is about returning to a place of love and total acceptance of who we are, exactly as we, no matter what we have done or where we have been, we are accepted with open loving arms. It’s about returning to that place where love is not only born but nurtured and grown and brought into true being.

Mother’s Day is the celebration of being held and nurtured in the spirit of love. Mother’s Day is about celebrating the spirit of mother.
Today we celebrate the spirit of mother; today we celebrate and give thanks to those who gave birth to our being, but we do more than that. Today we celebrate those who have nurtured and brought to life the love within us whether they are the ones who gave birth to our bodies or helped nurture and bring to life something within us. Today we celebrate the spirit of mother; today we celebrate those who have nurtured our lives whether in body, in mind, in heart or spirit.

Also today in celebrating the spirit of mother we acknowledge our responsibility to one another as individuals and a community to nurture, to bring to life, the love within ourselves, one another and the wider human community.
The truth is that all of us are constantly giving birth to something each and every day. We are all a part of the Divine Creation and re-creation it is really important to recognise this. As Annie Dillard wrote “ We are here to witness creation and to abet it…We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are all around us and to praise the people who are here with us.”

This is nurture, this bringing alive the spirit of mother, this is what we celebrate this day.
There are many ways to nurture and countless opportunities each and every day to do so. What have you given birth to and nurtured today? Perhaps a new sense of family or community? Perhaps you have held or encouraged another, given them hope? Perhaps something to improve your local community or wider society? What can you give birth to or nurture today? What gift have you been given that could be brought to life or what could you encourage to bring to life in others?

In what ways can you bring to life the spirit of Mother?
Over the last few weeks I feel I have awoken once again to the spirit of Mother, the spirit of nurture. I felt powerfully caught up in it only last week as I attended the parliamentary workshop and reception on combatting obesity. I participated in the roundtable discussion looking at ways to reach men. Many avenues were explored. At one point we discussed children and the role that not only mothers but fathers play in nurturing their children’s eating habits and how this would be one way to reach men to help them live healthier lives. It was reassuring to witness the recognition these days in men’s roles in nurturing children.
During the day I witnessed this nurturing love being expressed and participated in conversations about how we all have a role in bringing it to life. I saw a deep sense of collective responsibility and witnessed numerous examples of ways in which we can all show the way. None more so than in Baroness Benjamin, a wonderful example of mother. I’m not just talking about childhood memories here either. Although I did remember being a little boy and watching with my own mother as she touched so many children’s lives in the 1970’s. What I witnessed and was honoured to be in the presence of, was the embodiment of nurture, such a warm and deeply loving human being who just put you at ease by their presence. Someone who made you feel welcome as you are and someone who by simply being themselves invited you to be yourself. This is the spirit of mother for me and also the model for religious community too, the mother church a place of nurture, love and acceptance, a place where you can be yourself and your spirit can grow.

I felt powerfully the spirit of mother that day.

Subsequently I have felt a sickening sadness this week as only seven days later this very same place was a scene of bloodshed and murder as the Houses of Parliament came under attack from a man with murderous intent. That terror, that fear, will not overcome love though, of this I am certain. The spirit of love, that embodies the spirit of mother will overcome the spirit of destruction that occurred that day. We have seen this spirit come to life as people have come together ever since this appalling atrocity was committed...The spirit of love will always over come...
Today we honour the spirit of mother. Yes we honour the mothers who gave birth to us and raised us but also all the others who have nurtured and brought to life this love within us. We also honour that which lays within us, that spirit of mother that can help bring the very same love alive in others.
All of us have the potential to give birth and raise something in the world. Not all of us can give birth to children, but we can give birth to ideas, to art to music to all manner of creativity, we can all give birth to love through our very being. Some of us raise children, but children are not the only things that we can raise. Some of us can raise animals or flowers and vegetables; some of us can raise those in our community to be the best that they can be; some of us, later in life, find ourselves raising our own parents as they come to end of their lives; some of us can raise interest in a cause that we feel is worthy of working for, for me in recent times it is obesity and issues about our own bodily being. A love that has grown from my own pain and suffering and struggle. If we cannot raise interest we can raise money to support causes or just point out to others where love is needed. We can all raise and nurture love in this world, we can all give birth to love through our being. We can invoke the spirit of mother through our very own human being.

So on this day that honours mothers, let us do so in the true spirit of mother. Let us honour the mothers who gave birth to us and those who raised us. Let us give thanks for all they gave, whilst acknowledging their human limitations. Let us also give thanks for all those who have shown unconditional love and acceptance to us, those who have nurtured that loving spirit within us, who encouraged us to be the best that we could be. Let us also acknowledge that spirit of mother within each of us, that capacity to accept, love, encourage and nurture. Let us acknowledge our responsibility not only for ourselves but for one another and the whole of humanity.

Let’s all of us pay homage to the spirit of mother…

No comments:

Post a Comment