Luke 1:26-28

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 Joseph, 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.”

The Annunciation

It seems rather odd, but the feast of the Annunciation, the day when the church commemorates the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary, happens in the middle of Lent, yesterday March 25th. The oddness is cleared up when we remember the numbers of days in the year. March 25 is exactly nine months before Christmas, December 25. Does that clear it up a bit?

Yes and no. Sure the timing works, but it still leaves a strange taste in my mouth. Three years ago the feast of the Annunciation struck an even more interesting chord on our church calendar. In the year 2016, the Annunciation, March 25, was the same day as Good Friday. Now that is a juxtaposition. On the same day the church held both the divine immaculate conception of Jesus and his death in its hands.

This has happened twice in the 21st century, 2005 and 2016. And it happened three times in the 20th century, 1910, 1921, and 1932. Now however, we wait until 2157. In the year 1608 the English poet John Donne took the convergence of these dates to reflect on the poignancy, and not the oddness, that this occasion affords us.

“So God by his Church, nearest to him, we know,

And stand firm, if we by her motion go;

His Spirit, as his fiery Pillar doth

Lead, and his Church, as cloud; to one end both.

This Church, by letting these days join, hath shown

Death and conception in mankind is one.”

               “Upon the Annunciation and Passion falling upon one day. 1608″

 

Death and conception in mankind is one. Powerful words for our Lenten journey to the cross of Good Friday and the new birth of our Paschal rejoicing.

Pr. Daniel Joyner Miller