In Act 1 of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar is warned to “beware the Ides of March!” The Ides of March is the old Roman way of saying mid-March. Mothering Sunday just happens to fall at the end of March in 2014, but it moves around. I’m wondering if perhaps Julius had forgotten to send flowers.
It’s that time of year: a Sunday of Simnel cakes – marzipan and fruitcake to bring joy, strength and encouragement on the fourth Sunday of Lent. In some traditions this day also celebrates the Church as spiritual mother. Even for those who don’t follow a traditional church calendar, this is still seen as a day to honour motherhood. Mums can make all the difference. Eunice did, and so did her mum Lois before her.
Close to the end of his life, Paul wrote from a Roman prison to his young friend Timothy at Ephesus. As he begins his letter he is careful to mention two women by name. Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother Lois. Two women of firm faith whose names would have been lost to us, had not Paul commended them so. He seems to imply that Timothy would not be where he is, or who he is, without the foundation of faith established by these two women.
By the time Paul wrote these words, Christianity was probably no more than thirty-five years old; just one or two generations. But here is a brief family tree whose fruit – young Timothy – is the pastor of one of the most significant churches in the world at that time. Paul thought it was important to note the mothers’ role in Timothy’s life.
Faithful parents tend to bring up faithful children. It’s not a rule or a guarantee, but it is a strong tendency. So talk words of thanksgiving to mum when you see her or call her on Mothering Sunday.
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