Sunday, 22 March 2009

Mothering Sunday

Today is Mothering Sunday in the Church's calendar, the Fourth Sunday in Lent is marked with Asperges. The colour of the vestments for the Mass is Rose, in honour of Our Lady, Mary, mother of our Lord.

Asperges is a form of ritual cleansing, the church and congregation is sprinkled with holy water splashed by the priest using a bunch of Rosemary which he wets by dipping into a bowl carried by the Deacon as they process. During the Asperging, the choir sings Psalm 51 - The Miserere - to a setting that includes a response between verses from the congregation.

Now I have to confess that half the fun of this for me is watching the reaction of some of the kids who have never seen this, or perhaps don't remember it. The sight of three adults in fancy robes walking up and down the aisles splashing people with water is obviously fascinating - then they get splashed too and the faces go from puzzlement, to surprise - then laughter. Some visitors go through these reactions as well - especially if the Officiant gets the Harry Potter "wand action" right with the "swish and FLICK" that produces the maximum spray and spread of water. Who says that High Church practice is dull?

Of course, the main reason they all come to this and other services today is to remember mothers and motherhood. It is Mothering Sunday. Bunches of daffodils are distributed to all the children, young and old, and carried back to their mothers - or, as in my case, taken home to be placed on the bookcase alongside the pictures of my mother and grandmother.

Happy Mothering Sunday.

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