Mothering Sunday, 28.3.11

“Pause for thought” on BBC Radio 2’s “Vanessa Feltz Show”

This coming weekend it’s Mothering Sunday, and I am sure there will be lots of people visiting their Mums, and sending cards and gifts.  So this week on ‘Pause for Thought’ we will be thinking especially about mothers – and the extraordinary love they can show.

I have had plenty of reason to think about mums and babies recently.  A few weeks ago I become a grandfather!  My son and daughter-in-law live in the United States, so my first contact with my new  grandson was via the wonders of the internet.  My wife and I have been fortunate enough to pay a visit to see and hold the little miracle of life which is our grandson.  And it is a real joy.  Grand-parenting gives most of the privileges with a lot less of the responsibilities that come with being a parent.  Seems a pretty good deal to me!

In the lead up to my grandson’s birth, I have been ever more aware of the sacrifices a woman has to make to become a mother: many months of pregnancy with all the changes to the body; the physical and emotional labour of giving birth; the broken nights; the constant watchfulness to ensure the baby is OK.  And it goes on.  You never stop being a mother.  The worries, concerns and sacrifices may be different as life develops, but they never finish.

And yet the paradox is that all this sacrifice brings the greatest of joys to our lives.  Everyone loves to see a new born child, and to watch them develop and grow at every stage.  The self-giving love shown by a mother to her child has an ultimate quality to it.  It tells us something fundamental about what it means to be human,

How we understand this love is very important.  Some argue that it is basically to do with the survival of our species.  Others, rather gloomily, suggest that in the vast context of the universe our  subjective inner feelings have no particular ultimate value.

But I believe there is another vital element.  In the Christian faith, and in other religions too, there is a deep understanding that our human love is not something arbitrary, but reflects the very heart of God – the deepest reality of all.  It says in the Bible, ‘God is Love, and those who live in love, live in God’.  That shared love is something to truly celebrate – and is why it really is worth getting up in the morning!