Annunciation Service, March 25, 2015

Title:Annunciation Service, March 25, 2015

 Annunciation, March 25, 2015   (full size gallery)

This service comes out of the Catholic tradition. While it is on our lectionary calendar, there are few churches that present this service. We had not done this service at St. Peter’s. It can conflict with Holy Week since it is a fixed date – March 25. In 2016, it conflicts with Good Friday. 

The evening began at 5:30pm with about 15 people in a covered dish dinner. There was an abundance of food – lasagna, hamburger casserole, cheesy potatos, both fried and a pineapple chicken, a kale dish, fruit, macaroni. Topping this off was two chocolate desserts and a angel food cake with Brad’s preserves. The latter was appropriate given the celebration of the angel’s appearance to Mary. 

We had 18 in the service which was a Rite II communion service. Although we are in Lent, the Annunciation is considered a feast day.  The service readings are here. The bulletin is here

The Collect was an appropriate summary – "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." The Isaiah reading has one of the forecasts of Jesus 7 centuries before his birth to King Ahaz of Judah. "Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. The alternate Psalm 45 was a song for the Davidic king’s marriage to a foreign princess from Tyre in Phoenicia. The Psalm was retained in the collection when there was no reigning king, and came to be applied to the king who was to come, the Messiah. The second Psalm which we used was Psalm 40. Like Mary the psalmist describes being raised up. The Gospel was the text of the sermon describing the visit of Gabriel to Mary – "you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus."

The sermon’s subject was on the roles of fear and doubt. "Unlike Mark and John, Matthew and Luke open their gospels with stories about the birth of Jesus. They want us to know not just that God came to dwell with us, but how this happened. And at the beginning of both these gospels, fear and doubt play major roles."  

"On one level, fear can help us protect ourselves and stay alive in life threatening situations.
Fear also presents new, immediate possibilities and can widen or narrow our vision."  "Fear can also keep us from ever becoming who God would have us be, because we’re too full of fear to even imagine what that might be. Or maybe we can see what God wants us to be, but we’re too full of doubt to act on God’s plan for us."   The sermon showed in Matthew’s Gospel two varieties of fear – Joseph and Herod. In the Gospel of Luke, "Mary overcame her fear and doubts and in doing so, she changed the history of the world."

 "So I think that what we have to do in fear filled situations is to ask ourselves this question.
  “What is the life giving choice that God has in mind for me in this situation?” Life giving…..what will bring the most life and healing into the particular scary situation we’re caught in? " She used the example of local resident Peg Johnson’s actions in a train crash in North Carolina. "And not only that, she stepped into the role of the angels by being the presence in this fearful situation that said through her actions, ‘Do not be afraid.’

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