Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Lady Day and announcements

Today 25 March used to be known as Lady Day in England. It was also New Year's Day until 1752 - a point that historians and genealogists need to bear in mind when considering year dates. The 'Lady' after whom the day was named is Mary, mother of Jesus. Today is a Feast Day in Anglican, Roman Catholic and other church calendars - the Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It celebrates the announcement to Mary by the angel Gabriel that she would bear a son conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can read the story in Luke 1: 26 - 38. For obvious reasons this feast is calendared 9 months before the celebration of Jesus' birth at Christmas.

Last Sunday I was travelling on the London Underground and heard an announcement that was completely incomprehensible. Had we understood it we might not have tried to change to the Jubilee Line at a station where that was temporarily impossible. Perhaps we should have taken more care to ponder what it meant and ask other people for help. It seems to me that Mary must have found the announcement that she received incomprehensible - at least at first. "How can this be?" I find it incomprehensible too - and humanly speaking, impossible. I can only wonder at the mystery. How can God become human? Impossible isn't it? How can a human give birth to God? Impossible isn't it? How can life meet death? How can the highest heaven meet the lowest depths? Impossible! Yet I believe it, for as the angel said to Mary,
"nothing will be impossible with God".
I love these words from the Common Worship extended preface for the Eucharistic prayer for today's Holy Communion.
"We give you thanks and praise
that the Virgin Mary heard with faith the message of the angel,
and by the power of your Holy spirit 
conceived and bore the Word made flesh. 
From the warmth of her womb 
to the stillness of the grave 
he shared our life in human form. 
In him new light has dawned upon the world 
and you have become one with us 
that we might become one with you 
in your glorious kingdom."

Happy Lady Day to you!


4 comments:

  1. Happy Lady Day to you too. I had never heard of it before. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I like the 'joke' morality tale you posted on your blog on 25 March

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