Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Proper of the Day: The Annunciation

Today we in the Episcopal Church observe The Feast of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel told ("announced" to) Mary that she would become pregnant miraculously and would bear a son. Only Luke records this, as part of his extended twin birth narrative cycle of John the Baptist and of Jesus. Matthew, in yesterday's Gospel, actually give the Annunciation to Joseph, although of course in a somewhat different context. (Mark and John do not contain any birth narratives.) There is always much to ponder about the Annunciation. As I've blogged elsewhere, this and the other Marian feasts really challenge me to open my heart to the place of Mary in Christian tradition. I have always been struck, as countless other Christians have, by Mary's response to the incredible announcement: "Here am I, the servant of the Lord. let it be with me according to your word." Such openness to God's will! Such trust! And in contexts which could have gotten her ostracized or even killed, as well.

More than that, though, I'm mindful of the unique convergence of the Feasts of St. Joseph and of The Annunciation. It only happens because Easter fell so early this year, and as others have reported, it won't be this early again in our lifetimes. Like St. Joseph, this observance was transferred because its normal day of March 25 was Tuesday of Easter Week this year, which takes precedence. There's a lot of significance to the fact that the both the (step-) Father and Mother of Our Lord have their feasts this year one right after the other. I will try to take some time today to meditate on this, as it's an occurrence very much worth taking time to note.

Joseph never gets a song or even much dialog in Scripture. So not much music for him. (Here's one piece I did find.) But Mary does. In honor of today, here's a haunting setting of her Song, the Magnificat by one of my favorite composers, Arvo Part:

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 to 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.

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!


1 comment:

Troglodyteus said...

There are many men like Joseph today. They belong to
The Order of the Attending Spouse.
Blessed are the long suffering
who are seldom seen
and never heard.