Worship for Sunday 19th March 2023, by Rev. Joy Rulton

Mothering Sunday

Today we thank God for those who care for us. We celebrate their love, and we thank God for his love and care.

Call to worship:

We come to worship God,

who loved us before we were yet born,

who knows us even better than we know ourselves,

whose presence never leaves us,

and whose love for us never ceases.

This is our God.

Let’s worship together!

Hymn: For the beauty of the earth

or John Rutter setting:

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale and tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,

For the heart and brain’s delight,

For the mystic harmony

Linking sense to sound and sight:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love

Brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best gift of Thine

To the world so freely given
For that great, great love of thine,

Peace on earth and joy in heaven
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Prayers of adoration…..

Loving, caring God,

thank you for life and living, even when we are weary and worn-out.
We thank you for challenge and change, even when we seek safety and security.
We thank you for companionship when we are lonely.
We thank you for creativity when we are uninspired.
We thank you for mothers and carers everywhere,

and for all they do to help our families grow well.

We thank you too for our church family,

where we can care for each other

as brothers and sisters in Christ.

And, most of all, we thank you, Lord,

that you are our heavenly parent

who loves us

Bring us to newness of life as your people.
Bring us to wholeness of life from out of its fragments.
Bring us to fullness of life from your communion in and with us.
Loving God, to you we pray,

and confession…..

We come before God

bringing before him the brokenness of the world

and of our lives.

So let us call to mind

our failure to value the love of others

and our failure to love as Christ loved us.

Lord, have mercy.

You call us to do good.

We seek our own good.

Christ, have mercy.

You hear us when we cry for help.

We ignore the cries of others.

Lord, have mercy.


May the Father of all mercies

cleanse us from our sins,

and restore us in his image

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Collect for Mothering Sunday

God our Father,
your Son Jesus Christ lived in a family in Nazareth:
Grant that in our families on earth
we may so learn to love and to live together
that we may rejoice as one family in your heavenly home;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hymn:  Great is thy faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.

C: 1923 Hope Publishing Co.


John 19:25-27

Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.


What does the word “family” mean to you?  The Oxford Dictionary definition is “a group consisting of one or two parents and their children.” Today there are single parents, extended families, foster parents, grandparents, carers, church families…..

As a parent, I have discovered that you never stop worrying about your children. As time goes on, I now worry just as much about my grandchildren and all that they face in the world today.

Look at the people at the foot of the cross. A dying son. A confused disciple. A mother whose heart is breaking. Wonder if Mary remembered those words of Simeon when Jesus was just six weeks old, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Even on the cross, Jesus’ concern was for others, for his family. He was aware that, after his death, there would be no-one to care for his mother. And, as an oldest son, that troubled him.  Jesus entrusted Mary to the disciple, John. A new family is created in the shadow of the cross as John took Mary into his home. They could offer each another comfort, support and encouragement.

Care, support and encouragement should also mark our church families. We have to admit that we haven’t always been able to care for each other as well as we would like, or as well as God expects.

We are all responsible for each other. We are a family in Christ, and, like all families, we are all very different and things aren’t always easy, but that shouldn’t discourage us from doing all we can for each other.

And then we are strengthened to move out to take God’s love to our hurting world.

Jesus calls us all to care for one another, support one another, nurture one another, love one another, and be as Christ to one another.

Hymn:  Brother, sister, let me serve you

Brother, sister, let me serve you;
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow,
till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you;
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that l may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

C: 1977 Scripture in Song Admin: Song Solutions CopyCare

Prayers of Intercession:

Inspirational God

You change us in ways we cannot imagine

You inspire us with your spirit

You move us to new experiences

In Jesus we see your love and care in action

and in our own lives that love and care and inspiration is shown to us:

We give thanks and pray for

those people who have inspired us to new heights

those who cradle us in the crook of their arms

those who love us to the depth of our beings

those who enfold us with care and protection

those who treasure the flame within us

those who nurture our new and tender growth

those who protect us on dark days

those who shelter us from the storms of life

those who encourage us to take the next step

those who enable us to be ourselves

those who watch over us

those who let us fly and catch us if we fall

those who reveal to us you love and inspiration.

for them all we give thanks and for them all we pray.


Hymn:  Living God, your joyful Spirit

Living God, your joyful Spirit
breaks the bounds of time and space,
rests in love upon your people,
drawn together in this place.
Here we join in glad thanksgiving,
here rejoice to pray and praise:
Lord of all our past traditions,
Lord of all our future days.

As your bread may we be broken,
scattered in community;
we who know your greatest blessings
called to share Christ’s ministry.
May we gently lead each other,
share our hunger and our thirst;
learn that only through our weakness
shall we know the strength of Christ.

Lord, when we grow tired of giving,
feel frustration, hurt and strain,
by your Spirit’s quiet compulsion,
draw us back to you again.
Guide us through the bitter searching
when our confidence is lost;
give us hope from desolation,
arms outstretched upon a cross.

Living God, your power surrounds us,
as we face the way Christ trod,
challenge us to fresh commitment
to the purposes of God:
called to share a new creation,
called to preach a living word,
promised all the joys of heaven,
through the grace of Christ our Lord.


Loving God,

you uphold us from birth to death,

and through all life’s changes

 with your grace and love.

In gratitude for all the love we have received, throughout our lives,

may we be always ready

to help those who are struggling,

to protect the vulnerable,

to feed the hungry,

and to comfort the broken.

In Jesus’ name we pray.


and the blessing of God Almighty.
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you always. Amen.

CCL: 491797

Prayers adapted from Rootsontheweb, The Worship Cloud and The Mothers Union