As we journey through the Lenten Season, the fourth Sunday in Lent allows us to take a break, as it were, from the strict solemnity of this period of self-denial. Yes, the focus for us is on Jesus’ sufferings and death at this time, but we serve a risen Saviour who reigns as King! Therefore, the Christian Church allows this fourth Sunday in Lent to be represented with the colour ‘rose’ instead of the traditional ‘purple’. The colour ‘rose’ is a compromise or blend between the penitential ‘purple’ and the colour white (or gold) used on joyful festal days. Of course, this Sunday is the midpoint of Lent and is referred to as Refreshment Sunday, a time to reinvigorate, strengthen and renew ourselves so that we can complete the Lenten period with even more determination and reverence. Lent IV is also refreshing because it has an Historical Dimension:
Again, this fourth Sunday in Lent is affectionately called Mothering Sunday and has its origin in Great Britain in the 1800s. Young English workers who laboured in distant factories, farms and similar industries would take a break from work, returning to their respective homes bearing gifts for their mothers. It was a happy family union and usually a feast climaxed the activities on the 4th Sunday in the Lenten Season. Lent, of course, was and is a 7-week span and the discipline of the season was relaxed if only for this one day. However Sunday evening found the workers heading back to work for another three weeks to await their happy reunions once again at Easter!
The complement to Mothering Sunday is the American observance of Mother’s Day (the 2nd Sunday in May) with both representing different ideologies and beliefs.