Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Annunciation

Thursday, March 25, 2010 -- Week of 5 Lent, Year Two
The Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer)

EITHER
the readings for Thursday of 5 Lent, p. 957
Psalms 131, 132, [133] (morning)       140, 142 (evening)
Exodus 7:25 - 8:19
2 Corinthians 3:7-18 
Mark 10:17-21

OR
the readings for the Annunciation, p. 997
Morning:  Psalms 85, 87;  Isaiah 52:7-12;  Hebrews 2:5-10
Evening:  Psalms 110:1-5(6-7), 132;  Wisdom 9:1-12;  John 1:9-14

I chose the readings for the Annunciation
The Annunciation is an exquisite feast.  It first celebrates the anticipation of something that is coming -- something wonderful and anticipated, but still some time away.  Mary hears the announcement and accepts its message -- she will bear a child who will be God's means for blessing.  There is wonder and joy, amazement and mystery, immediate anticipation and necessary delay. 

There is a richness in the waiting time -- the almost, not yet, but oh so soon.  Such an in-between, liminal time can feel half-empty and unreal.  I remember being engaged to marry, how odd it seemed to me to be committed to a new way of being in the world, and yet having to wait for that reality to actually happen at a future time certain.  It seemed that real life was being put on hold for a while; it seemed unnatural.  I didn't like being engaged. 

Waiting for a baby's arrival felt entirely different.  It was a rich waiting.  There was so much anticipation and hope.  There was the experience of gestation and growth, reinforcing the coming reality.  Life felt more real, more meaningful.  The waiting was a rich part of the process and added to the delight of the whole.

The Annunciation is also an amazing story.  It is grounded in the experience of a peasant woman who accepts a divine visitation of a most unsuspected sort.  In the scheme of things, she is nobody.  She has no standing, no worldly significance.  In God's scheme of things, she is everything.  She has divine standing, ultimate significance. 

What leap of trust did it take for her to imagine that God would choose her?  (What leap of trust does it take for each of us to imagine that God would choose us?)  What leap of hope did it take for her to imagine that God would bless the world through her?  (What leap of hope does it take for each of us to imagine that God will bless the world through us?)

The author of Hebrews asks God, "What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them?  You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor, subjecting all things under their feet."  That statement is an Annunciation as well.  The scriptures announce that God loves us and cares for us.  They tell us that God intends all things to be subjected under our feet.  Hebrews makes it clear, with reference to that latter glory, that its path comes through the suffering of death.  Now Christ has tasted death for everyone, and the ultimate triumph is accomplished.

The Annunciation has happened to each of us.  God has declared us to be God's beloved.  God has promised blessing.  During the rich waiting time, we will experience gestation and growth, much of which will reinforce the coming reality.  Because of God's Annunciation to us, life is more real, more meaningful.  We live in wondrous anticipation of the complete fulfillment of promise -- now, not yet, but oh so soon.  Like Mary, we are pregnant with God.  Right now there is wonder, love and blessing that enriches life.  Still to come, there is the fullness of time when all things shall be fulfilled according to God's word.

Lowell

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Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.


Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

1 Comments:

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous janetlgraige said...

How nice to have a no fast day right toward the end of Lent! Peace, Janet

 

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