Today is Mothering Sunday. What do we associate with this day apart from the cards, chocolates and flowers that abound for Mothers’ Day – an altogether different celebration? Mothers’ Union – a gathering of mothers, a force to be reckoned with – campaigning for women, children and family life issues. Being Mother – the idea that someone must look after the others – to pour the tea perhaps? Mother of all … the biggest, the best, the sweetest, the one to which all others aspires. Mother Country – from where we come, a place to call home, a place of comfort, friends and family. ‘Mother’ by John Lennon a song of despair for what motherhood might have been but wasn’t. Mother Ship – a home, a place to ‘dock’ to return to, from whence we came. Mothers’ Pride – a slice of fluffy white bread with lashings of butter and jam, comfort food beyond compare, to provide such a slice is to be the Mother of all Mothers and pride of the north since 1936. Mother Earth, the home planet which gives life to all that walks or talks or grows. Mother Nature, the mothering of the earth as she effects all that is natural on the planet, growing and living and being. Mother Church, a place of safety to return to, the one from whom we once came or return to now and again. So a celebration of mothering then, it is what it is. But in the midst of all the fluff, is there not something ever so simple about the image from the gospel. Forget for a moment the ambiguity of the passage or the centuries of debate over who is who in the rendering of the last hours of Jesus. Simply take the words: Behold your son, Behold your mother. One who gives life to the other, one who takes care of the other. A relationship which is reciprocal. Take care of the one, and the one will take care of the other. So whether it’s our maternal mother or mother church, mother earth etc. The relationship is key, it makes all the difference. It is the relationship of a God who loves as a mother, as one who, quite naturally, gives life. For what else is the task of a true mother.