Mothering Sunday gets Tim thinking about buildings…
On 6th March we celebrate Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day, as it’s most commonly known today. “Mothering Sunday”, although rightly a great opportunity to say “thank you” to our Mums, is actually more special than just that.
Many years ago, Mothering Sunday would have been a greatly significant day in the year and would have meant an extra day’s leave. In the days of “Downton Abbey” and earlier, most people would only have had half a day off each week and very rarely a Sunday. On “Mothering Sunday” however, household staff in particular would be allowed to return to their families, and most importantly, to their mother church.
I’ve been struck in the relatively short time I have lived in Widcombe, just how many people really value the buildings of St Thomas à Becket and St Matthew’s. For so many in our community, both regular church members, but also neighbours, residents and those who have a shared history with Widcombe, it’s their church, part of their history and hopefully their future. For them to be able to step into “their” church, to be still, to join in with community events, to worship, to encounter God, to laugh, to learn and to experience life; these moments are so very precious. Churches of course, while so physically visible on our skylines and in our communities, are supposed to be so much more than simply historic buildings. The Greek word ecclesia appears in the New Testament approximately 115 times and in virtually every instance, it is translated as “church”. The actual correct meaning of the word however is never really a building – it is a gathering of people – a worshipping assembly or an open community of believers. From the earliest of days, churches have always really been about people – the community who gather and those around who may be blessed, encouraged and touched by them.
We are so blessed with our two fabulous church buildings that were built for the glory of God as a legacy by previous generations to be a resource, a home and places of life. We must be committed to continue that great endeavour for future generations, to be stewards and custodians of what has been generously given to us.
As we journey towards Easter, may we again reflect on those words of Jesus in Matthew 16 as he declares, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail.” It is remarkable that in the building of His church, God uses souls like you and me to shape fabulous church communities that continue to be places where people are cared for, nurtured and experience the embrace of God.
Have a wonderful Mothering Sunday and Happy Easter.