It’s apt that today’s object on Mothering Sunday is ‘family photos’. The Bible passage is Matthew 12:46-50, where Jesus talks about family, reminding us that ‘whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’

Family photos are a way of reminding us of special occasions and special people; my daughter-in-law trained in photography and so I have come to appreciate the joys of photoshoots where my grandchildren – who grow so quickly! – can be captured in time. As Gordon Giles says, the camera is ‘a mirror with a memory.’ (‘At Home In Lent’, P 106) For some people, families are a source of great pride and joy; for others, there is pain involved in the memories as relationships fragment or there is sadness because of the loss of family members. Mothering Sunday can be both a joyful occasion of celebration and a time of great pain and sadness, either because of an inability to have children or because of estrangement or bereavement.

In this passage, we see Jesus redefining what is meant by family, linking it to our connection to God even more than the blood ties which we usually use to define family. Gordon Giles speaks of ‘new bonds of connectedness that are based not on kinship but on common purpose, affection or service.’ (‘At Home In Lent’, P 105) Being a Christian means being connected to other believers in ways that are powerful and rewarding (as well as challenging!)