Recently Mandy and I have become grandparents! Elizabeth Grace Stebbing was born on 4th January in London at almost 7 lbs. We’ve been to visit them and they are all doing well, although our son Thomas does look pretty tired! As we held little Elizabeth we couldn’t help but wonder at the miracle of childbirth, and give thanks to God for this new life.
March brings another cause for celebration as it will be Mothering Sunday on the 15th – a chance to remember our mothers and those who care for us, and to thank God for them. In Church it’s a time to be thankful too for the care and nurture of the Church, both the pastoral workers who do so much good quietly behind the scenes, and also the ordinary Church members who live out Jesus’ command to love one another through simple acts of care, thoughtfulness and service. I know that many folk in St Luke’s are thankful for the care and love they receive from others in Church. Often it is these acts of kindness and concern that demonstrate our Christian faith to those who don’t yet know Jesus ‘By this shall all people know that you are my disciples – that you love one another’ as Jesus told his disciples. The love of God is expressed in practical ways as we care for other people. Another theme of Mothering Sunday is thanking God for the nurture that we receive from His Church through fellowship and teaching, equipping us to live His way in today’s world. I do hope that you will be able to come to our special Mothering Sunday Parade service, where we will join with the Uniformed groups to thank God for mothers and for all those who care for us.
Holding our grand-daughter reminded me of how I felt when our own children were born, and how when I became an earthly parent it helped me to understand a little of how our heavenly Father feels towards us. He loves us with an unconditional love, and he longs for us to return that love, but he wants us to return it of our own free will – not through being coerced or forced into loving him. Our hope is that as a Church we will help people find and know this love for themselves, so that they can choose to respond to their heavenly Father if they wish.