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Annunciation

March 25, 2020

“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 Jospeh, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored 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 favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.'” Luke 1:26-31

Today, March 25, is Day 10 of Dispatches From a Suburban Pastor During a Pandemic. More importantly, today is the Feast of the Annunciation. In nine short months it will be Christmas!

With the whole Church today we remember the Archangel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary. Greetings. Do not be afraid. You have found favor with God. Mary, an as-yet-unmarried teenager whose people live under Roman occupation, is given the most amazing news. God’s promises are about to be fulfilled – through her, for her, and for her people. And through her people, for the whole world. Jesus, whose name means “He saves,” is about to be born.

But it doesn’t happen right away. Babies being babies – and Jesus was a very human baby! – take nine months, give or take, to show up. Mary hears the promise and her life is reshaped by God’s grace. In that grace, she waits.

Nine months later, Jesus was born. The world waited.

30 years later, Jesus was baptized. The world waited.

Three years later, Jesus was crucified and buried in the tomb. The world waited.

Three days later, Jesus was raised from the dead. And in the moment, the world was changed, shot through forever with God’s promises of hope and love, mercy and grace.

Even so, we are a waiting people. We live in the “already” and the “not yet” of God’s reign. The promise is fulfilled; the promise will yet be fully realized. As Christians, we are used to living in two worlds at once.

In this time of coronavirus, let us lean into this hopeful waiting. We are isolated but not trapped. We are apart but not alone. We wait for this pandemic to end (how long, O Lord?) but we wait with hope. For long ago a child was born to a loving mother, Mary. And that child has saved the world. That child, our Lord, will come again. Let us wait together with hope, for the promise will be – and already has been – fulfilled.

Remember:

Do not be afraid.

You have found favor with God.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

 

Today, Pope Francis invites Christians around the world to pray the Lord’s Prayer. Let’s end with Jesus’ prayer to his heavenly Father.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

From → COVID-19

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