Dear sister and brothers in Christ,
Welcome to worship as we observe the Fourth Sunday in Lent also known by two other names: Refreshment Sunday and Mothering Sunday. Refreshment as we are at the half way point between the beginning of Lent and Easter. Therefore there has been tradition of taking a little break from the rigours of Lent on this day. Mothering Sunday relates to the tradition of celebrating Mother Church. Mothering Sunday began in England where girls who left home and became domestic staff in wealthier homes would bake a special cake for this day and would be given time off to go to their homes with their gift of Simnal cake for their mothers.
What can we make of this today, especially as we consider the Scriptures before us. Perhaps realizing that in Christ we celebrate and receive his refreshment, for by his death and resurrection we are healed. Just as the Israelites in our first reading, who were bitten by venomous snakes could look upon the bronze serpent Moses erected and be healed, perhaps we can see that in Christ he takes upon himself all the poison and pain of the world and makes us whole.
We hear the immortal words today of John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life.” Do we take this teaching to heart? It is important always to be reminded of just how much our Lord has done for us, and realize that he has achieved what we in no way, under our own steam, can we ever hope to do so. Jesus is our light and our salvation
May you journey well with Christ this week.
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.