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Mothering

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 30 March 2014

In ancient China there are many stories which tell of sons’ respect for their mothers.

In one, a mother who has lost all her teeth is fed by a son who dresses like a deer in order to charm her; in another a son dresses as the baby he once was to amuse his elderly mother. There is one story which especially moved my heart, that of Huang Xiang.

Huang Xiang’s mother was severely ill. A Chinese herbalist doctor told him that she would recover if he could catch a carp and make soup from it for her to drink. It was the middle of winter and all the rivers were frozen; how could he find a carp to save his mother in her critical condition? Full of anxiety and concern at how to solve this problem Huang Xiang suddenly felt the warmth of his body through his thick woollen coat and he knew how to catch a carp. He took off his clothes and laid down on the frozen river so that the warmth of his body could thaw the ice. Because of this respectful concern and care for his mother God looked down on Huang Xiang and saw to it that he caught a carp and that his mother was made well again.

Nowadays it seems, many sons and daughters have forgotten this loving concern for their parents. I have visited an elderly Chinese woman whose son is a consultant surgeon and whose daughter is a lawyer in a company which she owns in Central London. Their mother lives an impoverished life in a dirty environment. Her children visit her once a year on Mothering Sunday. She told me it was fortunate that there is such a day, otherwise…

The Church added this day to the calendar to remind us to respect the mothers who gave us our lives and also to respect our Heavenly Father who is the source of all life. We are reminded in the story of Huang Xiang that by showing such loving respect we are, in turn, loved and respected by him.

Revd Paul Lau