Mothering Sunday was celebrated with pomp and pageantry all over the world in the Anglican Communion. Nigeria was not an exemption; it was celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent with gifts showered on Mothers as they entertained loved ones and families. It was a great reunion at the Cathedral Church of the Advent Life Camp Abuja, the seat of the Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh.
In her sermon at the service, the Federal Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Amal Pepple who is a lay reader at the Cathedral of the Advent concentrated more on the Children, a heritage from God.
Taking her text from Psalm 127 vs. 3, Ms. Pepple said whereas a heritage is a practice of passing on properties, titles, landed properties as in Old Testament times, passed on to children and family for perpetuity; in the society today, children are considered to be a great asset, and a lot of emphasis is placed on the children by Jesus Christ as He cared for their spiritual upbringing.
She recalled with nostalgic feelings the text in Mark 10:15 where Jesus took children in His arms and blessed them. She warned that anybody who tries to destroy the spirituality of a child will incur the wrath of God. According to the Scriptures it would have been better to have a milestone hung around the neck of the person and be drowned in the sea.
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development who quoted the Bible copiously said it is obvious that children are one of the greatest gifts one can receive from God, because according to her they are the only possession that have eternal value as jewels of tomorrow, the Princes and Princesses of the Most High God. She urged parents to place a great value on their children by changing their lackadaisical attitude towards them.
Citing the example of the Biblical story of Hannah who believed that Samuel was a gift from God and placed high premium on him by putting him down to serve the Lord all the days of his life, adding that mothers like Hannah should teach their children the ways of the Lord and to serve God forever. Corroborating her stand, Ms. Amal Pepple also cited the example of Timothy a man of sincere faith, privileged to have very strong Christian parents and grandparents. She said the salvation of his faith was made possible by his grandmother and mother. The Preacher said as parents especially mothers, they have the responsibility to ensure that their children are grounded in the Scriptures and lay good foundation for them to grow up to be children of God.
She said God has given as gifts not only the biological children but every child, with a duty to bringing them up in the ways of the Lord teaching them those things that will guide them the righteous way. She added that raising Children is one of the important stages given by God and while performing these duties, it develops into a symbiotic relationship between the children and their parents in this Information Technology and Internet world because children are versed in it.
Ms. Pepple warned against placement of priority on material things and glittering things of the world like money, clothes and jewellery. The Lay Preacher said there are various opportunities in the Church like Secondary Schools, teens chapel, boys and girls Brigade, youth star, Anglican Youth Fellowship where the children are brought up in the way of the Lord and they will be kept safe from cultism and all bad influences of drug and alcohol. She did not fail to mention the aspect of discipline, and vehemently condemned pampering of children by making use of only house helps to do house chores while their children are busy watching the television, emphasizing that the children should be priority. She pitied the career women and multi-taskers and the challenges they face at home, advising that they should spend quality time with their children by managing their time well to teach them the values of hard work and integrity. She urged them to cut down social outings and face the inevitable challenges of development and adapt to the information technology, IPAD, Laptop, telephones, and restrain the children from pornographic and violent films.
She concluded that bringing up children as a heritage from God is a joint responsibility of the fathers and mothers without prejudice to the fact that the father is the spiritual head of the home. The preacher added that, strong support of the father is required for the upbringing of the children and they should not wander away from this all important responsibility, especially in a society where there is serious decay in the spiritual life of the people. Hence, she advised that both the father and mother should take care of this heritage of God, to avoid further decline.
This year’s Mothering Sunday was remarkably different. High point of activities that marked the event include, Women Sporting Fiesta in all the seven Archdeaconries in Abuja Diocese, Dancing and Cultural night, visit to Satellite Churches in rural areas, dinner organised by the Cathedral women organisations and a sumptuous lunch after the service that was adjudged glorious.
By Foluso Taiwo