Exodus 2:1-10, 2 Cor 1:3-7, Luke 2:33-35 – all these readings are referred to. Quotations should be from the Bible version you read in church.
3 characters, representing 3 generations: A could be a grandparent, B a parent, C a grandchild.
C: What’s our service all about today?
A: About God; all services are about God, because he is the centre of our worship.
B: (a bit hopefully) but it is also Mothering Sunday, and we shall talk about families. What I don’t understand is how that fits in with God. After all, he doesn’t have a family, does he?
A: You could say that God has 3 families.
B + C: Three!?
C: How can God have three families? I don’t understand.
A: It starts in heaven, where Father God, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit live together. Unlike us, they understand one another and work together so well that they are one unit – a sort of family we call the Trinity.
B: Then I suppose there’s Jesus human family – his mother Mary, her husband Joseph, and his four younger brothers and several sisters. Even though Jesus never married, he certainly knew about family life. That’s two families, but I thought you said God has three – what’s the third?
A: You’ve missed a very important one. [C’s name] how many families do you have?
C: Well, I thought I only had one.
A: Oh no, you have two. There’s the one you’re born into, and the one you join. The second one is the one Jesus made when he sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost – we call it the Church. All Christians share God as Father, and so we form one family. Like most families, sometimes we get on, sometimes we don’t, but Church ought to be somewhere we find love, acceptance and help.
C: I think I understand, but why did we have those readings?
B: Well I can understand how difficult it must have been for Moses’ mum. Just imagine having your first baby, only to realise that its a boy and its supposed to be killed according to Pharaoh’s orders. Then keeping him hidden for three months, desperate that his crying will be heard and someone will give you away. What must she have felt as she put him in the river in that basket-boat, and later had to watch him grow up as someone else’s child?
A: Do you think she thought it was all worthwhile when Moses became the leader who lead God’s people out of Egypt to freedom?
B: Perhaps, but she certainly knew about hard times for the family!
A: So did Mary, Jesus’ mother. She obviously remembered what Simeon said in the temple when Jesus was a baby, “and sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.” It must have sounded strange at the time, but families are not always easy, as she certainly found out. Mary must have worried about Jesus, and been proud of him, and frightened for him. We know that one time she took his brothers to try and stop him getting into trouble, but he refused to go and speak to them, and they had to go home without him. Then she was there at the foot of the cross, before she could know from the empty tomb of his resurrection. Her family life wasn’t easy, either.
B: Paul was right when he wrote about God comforting us in all our difficulties, so that we can later help others in trouble.
C: That sounds a bit miserable. Don’t families have good times as well as bad?
B: [brightening up] Oh yes, there’s lot’s of fun. I think the Bible is just being realistic, and saying that even the hard times can be worthwhile. None of our families are perfect, none of us always enjoys the chores and the misunderstandings.
C: So, if we remember God has 3 families, even people who don’t have a family of their own still have a family in Church?
A: Yes, so that single people, or widows, or people whose relatives are far away still have family. They still belong. They aren’t alone.
C: So God was really clever, inventing families, and making sure we could all have one.
A: Well, if you put it like that
B: Yes, he was.
(686 words – about 7 minutes) (Click here to return to the Index to Sketches)