Women and the church

The western world undervalues and misunderstands so many things and the importance of Mothers and women in general is one of them. Another thing even some of it’s members undervalue is the local church. I wonder if you grasp the significance of the church’s calling, it’s purpose and place in the world? On Mothering Sunday, the value of mothers and the church are brought into focus.

A hard time
For some people Mother’s day was dreadful a reminder that they are unable to have children, or that their Mother was anything but caring, the loss of a mother or child. As a church family we want to stand with you, as you pick yourself up this week. We want to weep, mourn and pray with you, if you will let us.

A new family
Yet the truth about the church is that when we join God’s family, the local church becomes our family too. A family with lots of children, mothers, fathers and brothers. Over the years I have had plenty of people who nurtured me, as a child, teenager and as an adult. Now I have the joy as a father, of seeing people nurture and care for my children too.

Jesus creates new families
In John 19 our reading from Sunday, we observed Jesus transforming loss and grief into a new beginning. Just as Jesus’ mother Mary stood near the cross, grief stricken and about to lose more than just a son, Jesus provided.

Jesus provides
On the cross Jesus wasn’t focused on himself, but on Mary. Jesus was dying for Mary and for us, to us bring life, as he defeated sin and death. Yet Jesus also provided a new family for Mary as he asked the disciple he loved to take Mary as his own mother. He didn’t say ‘please look after my mum’, he made them into a new family unit, a family formed by God.

Mother’s are amazing
Mothers are profoundly special, they care for their children before the rest of the world even know they exist. It can feel like a thankless task, yet mothers are vital to society and in helping us better understand God. As mothers demonstrate God’s sacrificial, patient, determined and careful love, and they comfort us and give us strength. Mothers love in ways that point us to God the Father, who loved us so much that he gave us the world and his only Son. 

The church is special
So mothers are special but how special is the local church? I don’t just mean your church but every gathering of Christ’s people? Well the local church is the means by which God chose to communicate his love and salvation. Colossians 3 describes what the church should look like: 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

This ought to be the mark of God’s family, and what an attractive community that is. A compassionate and forgiving family united by love.

The church’s value
How valuable is the local church? Well Jesus died for the church and he is the head of the church. God the Father sent Jesus on a rescue mission to form the church and the Spirit empowers the church to live and witness to Jesus. 

How do we join God’s family?
If you believe in Jesus and commit your life to him, then you’re part of God’s family. Which also means that you are a mother, father, sister or brother to someone else in your church family. Which is why it’s vital to be a part of a church and to care for those in the church.

2020 Vision
If there is one thing the pandemic should have done, it is sharpen our understanding of the church. We know it’s not the building, we know it’s not what we do on Sunday. The church is an everyday thing, it’s loving God in response to his word the Bible, living in response to what we hear and loving and caring for each other in the process. The Christian faith is a community thing, it’s not a hobby we can do on our own. It’s about a gathered people who are sent out to share the love of God with the watching world.