MARCH 25, 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I offer this Collect, readings, and my prayerful thoughts to you, on this Holy Day. I hope you were able to join the church, Episcopal and worldwide Anglican Communion, with others throughout the world, praying the Lord’s Prayer. When you think about it, for 24 hours, the Lord’s Prayer is being offered. Imagine the intention and positive energy we send throughout the world – for others, as Jesus has taught us to pray.
Collect of the Day: The Annunication
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord; that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
ISAIAH 7: 10-14
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
LUKE 1: 26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.
THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD…
The feast (or solemnity) of the Annunciation was first celebrated in the fourth or fifth century. Cyril of Jerusalem coined the term “Theotokos” which means “God-bearer” for the Blessed Virgin, affirmed at the Council of Ephesus in 451. The central focus of this day is the incarnation: God at one with us in the second member of the Trinity.
The angel Gabriel appeared to the young Mary, betrothed to be married to Joseph, with a rather complicated request. She was asked to be the mother of Jesus, Son of the Most High God. After nearly 600 years God is keeping his promise to David. He will sit on David’s throne, and rule the house of Jacob forever. Through her body Mary, a lowly maiden, would give life to a child, Jesus. To the announcement of the angel, Mary’s response, “Let it be with me according to your word.” Through Mary the God-Man was born, died, and reigns forever to embrace all humanity, all creation, and draw us into God’s love for the world. It meant that Mary’s child would suffer and die, to show how far divine love will go to claim us. This child would redefine “power.”
Mary stood beneath the cross watching her child suffer and die. Jesus, not calling her mother, but woman, loved her by asking his disciple John to care for her. Jesus her child by birth and upbringing, with Joseph – hers, and not. He was here for others, for the world. Imagine her broken heart, her grief, in that moment. Perhaps she went back to the moment she said, “Yes,” to God, not realizing this is the journey the angel got her into, “Let it be according to your word,” and so it was. It had come to this — and then God…
As you read these texts, pray the collect and meditate on this story, ask God what he is calling and asking of you in these days of fear and uncertainty as people battle the Coronavirus throughout the world. As we care for each other, at a distance. And on this day, of all days, we have taken our place with others throughout the world, with Presiding Bishop Curry, Archbishop Marcus Welby, and Pope Francis — in praying the Lord’s Prayer together, as one voice, for 24 hours.
Let us give thanks for the Blessed Virgin Mary, who models for us, the YES God seeks from you and me. Through our lives may we join her in a different way, bearing Christ’s life through us to those in need and fear around you. In the midst of Mary’s extraordinary role in the plan of our salvation, and the ordinary life of raising her eldest, and a family – widowed young, through her comes God’s shout for us to awaken and realize the marvelous creatures each person is, in his love and design.