Families come in many different shapes and sizes. There are grans and granddads, aunts and uncles, even close family friends can fulfil the role of mum.
The tradition of Mothering Sunday can reinforce stereotypes that don’t always match reality.
For various reasons, that special person who really cares may not be a birth mother.
To have a day which marks the importance of gratitude is important. Yet sensitivity is vital too.
On Mothering Sunday, some feel the pain of loss and alienation. Others struggle with the emotions of remaining childless.
A personal message in one of St Paul’s letters sheds light upon the significance that he attached to “feeling part of a wider family”.
Writing to the Church at Rome he greeted a friend, Rufus, and “his mother who has always treated me like a son”. (Romans 16:13).
Imagine the great apostle being encouraged to pull up a chair to enjoy some home cooking!
What lay behind his appreciation of down-to-earth care? Perhaps Paul had become separated from his own family – or was simply reflecting upon his experience of being far from home.
Whatever, he remembered with fondness and gratitude the person who was “Mum”.
Rev Alan Barker
Holbeach Methodist Church