Feast of the Annunciation - Live Service
Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. The Rector will be attempting to live-stream a service of Holy Communion on our YouTube channel.
The service will follow Order 2 (BCP) and the words can be found here.
The readings for the service are Isaiah 7:10-14 and Luke 1:26-38.
For those who cannot access YouTube, here is the homily:
Today we celebrate that great moment, nine months before Christmas day, when Mary said ‘yes’ to God. The moment when she declares to the angel who brings her the great announcement, ‘here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word,’ is one of the most incredible moments that the Bible offers us. This is the moment when everything is put in place. This is moment when God’s great decision to be both fully God and also fully human becomes possible. It is from this moment that the clock begins to count down towards the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.
It all of it depends on Mary’s ‘yes’ to God. It all depends on the agreement of a young, unmarried woman. A woman with no real social status to speak of. A woman who to all intents and purposes insignificant. Could Mary have turned the angel away? Maybe she could have done. But she does precisely the opposite. She accepts the challenge, the awe-inspiring task of bearing the one who will be called the Son of God with conviction, with determination, with open arms. She accepts the impossibility of it all. She accepts her place in the story.
Many talk of Mary’s obedience to God. Maybe she is obedient. But perhaps it is better to talk of Mary’s courageousness. Here is the very strongest of women at the very heart of our faith. Her great ‘yes’, her rising to the challenge expressed in her exclamation of ‘here am I’, enables the Christian story of God’s new relationship with humanity to take place. Hers is not a story of passive, mild-mannered submission. It is a story of a fearless acceptance of her part in God’s audacious plan. It is a decision that could have caused her all sorts of social stigma. But she embraces the task that she is given, trusts God, and gets on with it.
In the past days, there has been much talk of the heroes in the NHS. Those people who have selflessly placed themselves at the very frontline of our battle to treat those suffering from the worst of the coronavirus. Our doctors and nurses are those who, like Mary, have intrepidly grasped the task that they have been given, in full knowledge that in doing so, they place themselves at significant risk as well. They are to be admired.
Yet the rest of us have our own part to play in this crisis as well. We too must embrace the challenge that is before us. The heroic parents dealing with their children at home. The heroic teachers offering ongoing childcare to those who most need it. The heroic keyworkers keeping our country going. The heroic few who are shielded, unable to go anywhere, unable to be within two meters of those who love them most. The list goes on.
We all have to be heroes to face up to our plight. In view of what faces us, we all need to stand and face it, declaring like Mary: ‘Here am I’.