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Sunday, 14 March 2021

‘Christ on the Cross with Mary and St John’, Rogier van der Weyden, c1443-1445
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Dear Friends

The readings provided for today represent an embarrass de richesses since not only do we have those for the fourth Sunday of Lent, but also a number of alternatives for Mothering Sunday which, of course, falls on the same day.  I am tempted to pick Exodus 2:1-10, the story of the birth of Moses and his adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter, who calls him Moses because, as she says, ‘I drew him out of the water’ (according to a popular etymology the name was derived from the Hebrew mosheh, ‘to draw out’).  She is duped by Moses’ mother and sister – but, in this case, happily so, and as quite often in biblical narratives, circumspection and even cunning can be used by God to bring about good.  ‘How can this be so?’ our more self-righteous self may ask, but it is, nevertheless the case that this is reflected in many of the most pivotal Scriptural narratives.

In one of the epistle readings allocated for today, Colossians 3:12-17, St Paul insists, nevertheless, that, as Christians we are called to a higher standard: ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God and whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’

For the Gospel there is a choice between Luke 2:33-35 or John 19:25b-27.  In the first, the story of the presentation of Christ in the Temple, Simeon addresses Mary and prophesies that ‘a sword will piece your own soul too’, which brings us back down to earth and recalls us to the message of Lent and Jesus’ life-long preparation for his passion, cross and resurrection – and that we, his disciples, will have to share in his suffering if we are also to share in his resurrection.

The other Gospel reading is the exchange at Calvary when Jesus addresses his mother Mary from the cross: ‘Woman, here is your son’ (indicating John, the ‘beloved disciple’) and then to that disciple: ‘Here is your mother’.  We are told that ‘from that hour the disciple took here into his own home’ – a foretaste, perhaps, of the embryonic Church?

Fr Stephen

Collect for Mothering Sunday

God of compassion,
whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross dew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and sorrow
we may know the power of your presence
   to bind and to heal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

1 Samuel 1:20-28 

A reading from the first book of Samuel.

Hannah conceived and bore a son. 
She named him Samuel, for she said, 
“I have asked him of the Lord.”

The man Elkanah and all his household 
went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, 
and to pay his vow. 

But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, 
“As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, 
that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, 
and remain there forever; 
I will offer him as a nazirite for all time.”

Her husband Elkanah said to her, 
“Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; 
only—may the Lord establish his word.”
So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 

When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, 
along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour,
 and a skin of wine. 
She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; 
and the child was young. 

Then they slaughtered the bull, 
and they brought the child to Eli. 

And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, 
I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, 
praying to the Lord. 

For this child I prayed; 
and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 

Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; 
as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.”
She left him there for[m] the Lord.

Luke 2:33-35

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

The child’s father and mother 
were amazed at what was being said about Jesus.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, 
“This child is destined 
for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, 
and to be a sign that will be opposed 

so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—
and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Service Times

First Sunday in the Month:
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Sung Matins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Variations can be found in the Parish Magazine or the Calendar at the bottom of this page.

Useful links

Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:

  1. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  2. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  3. Prayer for today.
  4. The C of E youtube channel.
  5. Hearing You is a new phone help line launched by the Diocese of Chichester in partnership with Together in Sussex in response to the impact that Covid 19 has had on Just about the whole community. It aims to provide pastoral support and a listening ear to the recently bereaved and people directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  6. COVID-19 advice from the Diocese of Chichester here.

Please note that St Mary's are not responsible for the contents of external links

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