Mothering Sunday (Script)

Mothering Sunday script – The story of a mother’s love

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Man – Elkanah

Wife – Peninnah

Wife – Hannah

Eli – The Priest

Narrator: First – the wedding!

Eli: Do you Elkanah take Hannah to be your wife

Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect her and

Forsaking all others (apart from Peninnah)

Be faithful as long as you both shall live?

Elkannah: I will.

Eli: Do you Elkanah take Peninnah to be your wife

Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect her and

Forsaking all others (apart from Hannah)

Be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

Elkannah: I will.

Narrator: Be a little cautious about the biblical view of marriage.  Elkanah loved both his wives but whilst Peninnah had babies – we are not quite sure how many but I shall give you four.

[Load up babies]

Narrator: Sadly Hannah had none.  Even more sadly, not quite in the spirit of sisterly love, Peninnah mocked Hannah.

Penninah: [Bit of mocking]

Narrator: This made both Elkanah and Hannah very sad.  And went they went to worship God Elkanah would always give Hannah a double portion of the sacrifice.

Elkanah: Here you are darling, you have extra.

Narrator: But all the time Penninah would mock her so much that Hannah would cry and could not eat.

Penninah mocks and Hannah cries.

Narrator: One day after the feast Hannah was weeping bitterly and she made a vow to the Lord:

Hannah: “Lord Almighty if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me and not forget you servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

Narrator: Hannah was so desparate that she promised God that if gave her a child that she would give him back to serve God.  Further she promises that he will never cut his hair – this sounds a bit strange to us but it symbolised a particular level of devotion to God and was called the Nazirite vow – think of the strong man Samson who had long hair and even John the Baptist – this was the tradition that Hannah was promising to dedicate her son, if only she could have one.

Eli the prophet was near by and he could see Hannah’s lips moving in prayer but he couldn’t hear her words and actually thought she was drunk:

Eli:  “How long are you going to stay drunk?  Put away your wine.”

Hannah: “Not so, my lord.  I am a woman who is deeply troubled.  I have not  been drinking wine or beer.  I was pouring out my soul to the lord.  Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Narrator: Eli answered.

Eli: “ Go in peace and may to God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

Narrator: Not long after Hannah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son.  She called him Samuel, which sounds like the Hebrew word meaning – ‘heard by God’ –  because God had heard her prayers.

When Samuel was weaned Hannah knew she had to fulfil her vow to God and she took him back to the house of God and presented him to Eli:

Hannah: “I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord.  I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”

Narrator:  Just to say that although your children are always very welcome in church, and I mean that, I can’t afford to feed more than two.

And then Hannah offered a wonderful prayer of thanksgiving to God:

Hannah: “My heart rejoices in the Lord…The is no one holy like the Lord, there is no Rock like our God.”

Narrator:  And then Hannah and Elkanah went home, leaving Samuel to grow up in the temple serving before God.

And God rewarded Hannah by giving her more children: Three sons and two daughters.  Although we cannot be sure I like to think that this is more than Peninnah had.

But, you know what, Hannah never forgot Samuel and never stopped loving him as a mother.  Each year Samuel grew a little bigger and each year, Hannah made him a new linen robe to wear.  I cannot help thinking of Hannah surrounded by her five children but sewing a robe to take to her first-born each year and how exciting it must have been for them all every year when they all met Samuel and gave him his new robe.

But isn’t it interesting to want something so much, to love someone so much, that the best thing we can do for them is to give them back to God.  How challenging is that to us?  Hannah wanted Samuel so much but she knew that he was a complete gift from God and that what God gives us we multiply so much more by giving back to him.

And that gift was multiplied many times over – not only did Hannah have five more children but Samuel himself was called by God to be a prophet and a leader and he grew into a great man who ended up anointing King David as King of Israel.

I think that that is a wonderfully powerful story about the strength of a mother’s love.  And, as an old testament story, it also foreshadows the story of Mary and Jesus in many ways.  Jesus was Mary’s son, born as a result of the promise of God, Mary’s prayer of thanksgiving echoes Hannah’s prayer in many ways and, like Samuel, Jesus was presented in the Temple.  In earthly terms Jesus did not grow up into being the important man that Samuel was and never anointed a King.  Instead he was crucified under a sign saying “King of the Jews” with his loving mother near by and it seemed like an unhappy ending.  But, of course, it was not the end because Christians believe that on Easter Sunday he rose again and became for us not just an anointer of Kings or even an actual King but, rather, he became the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.