Sunday Prayers – May 9, 2021

Join Canon Matthew, Linda, Peter, and folk connecting online for Sunday Prayers, live-streamed on the parish Facebook page at 9:30 am on May 9th!

(You don’t need to be a Facebook user to stream the video live, or to watch it sometime later.)

Peter will play music for ten to fifteen minutes beforehand, to set the mood for prayer.

The order of service is available here.

In the first reading, we’ll hear about how the Holy Spirit gets impatient with long sermons, and the gospel continues on from last week when Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” Here’s what Sundays and Seasons writes about the gospel:

A group of six people of various backgrounds hold hands in a circle.

This Sunday’s image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship. We are called to serve others as Jesus came to serve; but for John’s gospel, the image of servanthood is too hierarchical, too distant, to capture the essence of life with Christ. Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us. The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other. This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit.

Many folk around the world observe this Sunday as Mother’s Day. That can be deeply meaningful for some. It’s also deeply hard for others, and our prayers on Sunday acknowledge both the highs and the lows:

Gracious God, as a mother comforts her child, you comfort us. Bless mothers and mothering people in our lives. Comfort those who miss their mothers, mothers who grieve, those who grieve because they cannot be mothers, and those who have never known a loving mother.

You might be interested to learn that the idea of Mother’s Day didn’t start out as the Hallmark event it has become! In the 1850s, Ann Jarvis and women in West Virginia started Mother’s Day Work Clubs that served mothers who were ill or living in poverty, and their children. One summary by Carol Howard Merritt describes its focus as “hydrating babies, ensuring sanitation, and building hospitals.” During the Civil War, the groups cared for wounded soldiers from the armies of both the United States (North) and the Confederated States (South). Mother’s Friendship Day Picnics began after the war to attempt to forge peace between Union and Confederate loyalists.

To learn more about the history of Mother’s Day in North America, check out this article by Grace Donnelly and Alex Scimecca. For a great overview, visit this page from the United Methodist Women — who are proud to claim Ann Jarvis as one of their own!