Message from the chaplain - 31 March 2017

Saturday 25 March marked the church’s celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation: the announcement made by God’s messenger, Gabriel, to a seemingly unlikely recipient – a young girl, Mary, betrothed but not wed. It was an announcement that would change the course of history – that Mary would give birth to a son, who would be God-withus, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday 26 March marked “Mothering Sunday”, called thus because it was the day historically when Christians went to the “mother church” in their diocese – the cathedral – and also because that was the day when those who worked far from home were given leave to visit their mothers. The day’s proximity to the Feast of the Annunciation brings to mind Mother Mary, our Lord’s mother, patron saint of our school and a woman of God who represents each who has played the role of mother in our lives.

One of the readings for Mothering Sunday is 1 Samuel 16:1-13, which tells of the anointing of another unlikely person, David, to be king of the nation Israel and “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Surely the eldest son in a family, already a grown man and fit for battle, would be worthy of a kingdom, yet God chose the youngest of Jesse’s sons, a mere boy, fresh from tending the family’s flock of sheep, to be king.

Two intertwining themes strike me in the above: firstly, that God chooses a path for each of us to walk, no matter how unlikely a candidate we consider ourselves (or each other!) to be for this path. Our prayer in Lent must be to recommit ourselves to this path with God, to seek to discern the next step on that path, and to make that step happen.

Secondly, in all of the above there is an upholding of family and of our greater community: Mother Mary, those who have played the role of mother in our lives, David in relation to his family. This week, let us take time to uphold our families and our communities in prayer, in recognition of how both family and community have loved us and formed us.

Revd Claudia Coustas