Weekly Online Service
14 March 2021 The Fourth Sunday of Lent - Mothering Sunday

Please find below our service for this week. You can also click on the PDF button to open and download a copy of the printed generic Service booklet.

You will find an opening hymn - words are included. This is followed by the service. Finally there is a closing hymn. Please feel free to follow along in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Words in bold are for everyone to join in.


Tell out my soul

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his Word;
in God my Savior shall my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age the same;
his holy name, the Lord, the Mighty One.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by.
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his Word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children's children and forevermore!

Service Audio

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

All say Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy

The Prayers of Penitence

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect of the Day is said or sung.

God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself: strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and in sorrow we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Old and New Testament Readings

1 Samuel 1.20-28 - Read by Elizabeth Ranson

In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked him of the Lord.’

21 The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, ‘As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and remain there for ever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time.’ 23 Her husband Elkanah said to her, ‘Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only—may the Lord establish his word.’ So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, ‘Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.’

She left him there for the Lord.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Colossians 3.12-17 - Read by Adeola Shyllon

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

John 19.25-27 - Read by Aniru Shyllon

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, 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.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.


Happy Mothering Sunday.

Whatever the circumstances or makeup of our own family there is one certainty, we all have or had a mother. It may not always be the one who gave birth to you, an adopted mother or care giver all have the same role to play in our lives.

As I wrote about in early February, the foundations of our language and relationships begin even before we are born. I wonder what your mother was like. Mine was loving, generous but demanding. What was Mary like? I think we can learn a great deal about her mothering skills from what we read throughout the gospels.

We know Mary loved God and trusted that he would protect her from the perils she would face as a single mum. So, then Mary was a trusting young woman. She would need that trait as Jesus grew. Many mothers today find it difficult to trust their children to God. We hear so many stories of our young ones being lured into gangs, crime and some injured or fatally wounded.

We know that Mary was family orientated because she went, quite soon after the Angel left her, to visit Elizabeth her cousin who was five months pregnant. Elizabeth was convinced that Mary’s child was from God, she had become pregnant herself in a miraculous way. During the past year it has been really heart breaking not to touch our loved ones who live in separate homes. But other ways to hold onto family have been found in zoom, facetime, and online events, we have had to be inventive.

Mary trusted Joseph to find safe lodgings as they travelled to Bethlehem, she was after all nine months pregnant, and due to give birth at any time. It must have been a frightening time to give birth away from home. We, especially mums, can only imagine what giving birth for her, may have felt like. There were only other women to help, no man would come near because of the laws around blood and cleanliness.

Quite soon afterward the shepherds arrived bringing amazing stories about many Angels and their wonderful message of peace for God’s people. We can only wonder what the Holy couple made of it all. But we are told that Mary pondered their words in her heart. A thoughtful woman who treasured her relationship with God.

She and Joseph were faithful and took their little boy to be circumcised as the Law of Moses demanded. And thirty days later the Holy family were fulfilling the law again, bringing Jesus to the temple to pay the price of redemption, to sacrifice what they could afford, to God. It was here that Simeon gave them the most jaw dropping news. Their little baby was going to turn the world and their faith upside down, he was going to bring and share their God with the Gentiles. This news came with a stark warning that he would not be popular, and Mary would be deeply hurt. Mothers across the world are suffering because their children are not popular, bullying is rife on the internet and in classrooms, made easier and more hidden in the privacy of the bedroom and laptop.

Having returned to Nazareth, next on the scene, according to Matthew, came the Maji, carrying enormously valuable gifts. These gifts came with risks for the child so great that God intervened. The Maji and Joseph having been warned in dreams swiftly changed travel plans. Mary had to trust Joseph, and trust God as they fled to Egypt. We have seen so many refugee families crossing continents to find safety and stability for their children. It is heart breaking to watch mothers on the media nursing underfed babies. Like Mary they are willing to risk all for their children.

Back in Nazareth the Holy family joined the wider family and friends to make their annual trip to the Temple in Jerusalem for the Passover. We can imagine the excitement of children and adults alike, donkeys laden with goods, food, and gifts. It was much like our own trips to Frinton, children running about ignoring the plea to stay close. Mary would have been comfortable that twelve-year-old Jesus was among friends. It was only on the way home that he was missed, and fear stepped in. Any mother of a lost child would be concerned, perhaps terrified something bad had happened. A child found would usually be severely reprimanded before being hugged. But Mary hearing the boy Jesus speaking of his heavenly father so confidently and reassuringly in his words did not, it seems, lose her temper, or rap his knuckles. She was temperate.

The next time we meet Mary is at the wedding in Cana. The wine had run out. We see an immensely proud mum pushing her son forward. Jesus can help, do anything he says. How pushy was your mum? Mine was, for her boy. She was a woman of her time, but Mary had been given an insight into what plans God had for her son. Perhaps she had forgotten Simeon’s warning and firmly encouraged Jesus in what was to become his ministry and teaching.

Now we come to the worst time in any mother’s life, the death of a child. The reading today does not spare us any detail.

In the first century it was customary for Roman soldiers to keep the clothing of people they had just executed. They divided Jesus’ garments as a prize among themselves. The tunic however was so well made that they thought it better not to tear it and share rags but to gamble for it. Surely, gambling for the clothes of the condemned Jesus constituted the final indignity for him who saw all this while slowly, helplessly, and painfully dying.

John’ in his gospel, viewed this as a fulfilment of Psalm 22 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me” (Psalm 22:1). Evidently, this psalm played a major role in the early church’s understanding of the mission and ministry of Jesus. John’s reference tells us that fulfilment of the Old Testament was important in early Christianity way beyond Matthew’s church.

In this reading from John, Jesus showed a deep concern for his mother. In the first century, in Judaism, a woman was considered the ward (to put it politely) of her oldest, closest living male adult relative. This usually meant her husband, her father, or her oldest son. In some instances, it could mean a grandfather, uncle, brother, or cousin. It was believed that women needed to be protected and have someone to provide for their needs. It was now the son’s turn to be the carer.

It seems odd to our ears that Jesus addresses his mother as “Woman”. For those standing at the foot of the cross this would not have been disrespectful as it is for us today. As her oldest adult male relative, Jesus was both her protector and provider and could speak to her in this traditional manner.

John identifies four women at the cross as Jesus dies (slowly). Two are relatives and two are disciples. By being there, they risked being identified with him and opening themselves to arrest. Their presence shows their loyalty to, affection for, and piety toward Jesus. The only man mentioned, was the Beloved Disciple. His presence would have displayed the same degree of love, loyalty, and devotion as the women.

If this fact was in any doubt, it became clear when Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” And he said to the Beloved Disciple, “Behold, your mother!” Jesus authorised the Beloved Disciple to take his place as the senior son, the provider and protector of his mother from that moment on. To the original readers this would have been a powerful sign that the Beloved Disciple was “the man,” the true successor to Jesus not only in Jesus’ biological family but also in the family of faith, Christianity’ and a very human thing to do. Jesus loved his mother so much that even as he was dying, he asked a worthy friend to take care of her for him. And he places that responsibility on us his church, to care for others too.

Where did that strong bond came from, it must have come from his mum. The traits Mary displayed from the beginning, every mother, carer, or church hopes to embody. Love, trust in God and in family, concern, encouragement, and always being ready to put their child and community first. Not much to live up to then. But with God’s help… Happy Mothering Sunday.


The Rev'd Mo Lunn, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 14/03/2021

Service Audio

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit
and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Intercessions 

The Intercessions list has been circulated with petitions for the Church, The World, The Community, Our Keyworkers, The Sick and the Deceased. The Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is found at:

London Anglican Cycle of Prayer

This or another response may be used:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

Strengthen N our bishop(s) and all your Church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit …;
give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.

A sign of peace may be exchanged.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Service Audio

The Post Communion Collect

Loving God, as a mother feeds her children at the breast you feed us in this sacrament with the food and drink of eternal life: help us who have tasted your goodness to grow in grace within the household of faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Recessional 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 I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.