St. Mary's Church

The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary

4 Sep 2021 • General news

Isaiah 61. 10-end

10I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.11For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.

Galatians 4. 4-7

4When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Luke 1. 46-55

4When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. 

Thought for the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary 5th September 2021

One of the great sadnesses brought about by 2,000 years of church history is that modern day Christians perhaps do not realise quite how revolutionary the Christian religion was (and perhaps still remains).The Magnificat (the song of Mary) is a case in point. Leaving aside the fact that God chose to use a teenage girl, rather than a titled princess with all the privileges of wealth and power, to be the mother of his Son Jesus, the words of her song are almost seditious.

Look again at these words

He hath shewed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.

They are quite enough to put fear into the hearts of those in authority for what we know is that most people who have power like to keep it, ourselves included.

Mary is often held up to be a model of humility. Artistic representations of her over the centuries indicate a submissive and vulnerable woman, yet she was human. I think it is not without significance that at Jesus first miracle (the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana) Mary tried to intervene and tell Jesus what to do – not at all submissive! Thereafter there are few references to Mary at all and maybe we assume she was acquiescent from that point onwards.

I have often wondered why Roman Catholic devotion is so focussed on Mary. The usual answer given is that she is recognisably human and that we can more easily identify with her humanity. Whilst this may be true, it seems to bypass the significance that Jesus too is completely human and that we should be able to identify with him just as easily. Perhaps we just find it difficult to hold together the fact that Jesus is both fully human and divine.

Whatever, Mary’s song remains a statement about how God might see our world and a warning to those of us who like the power we wield. It is the hungry who are to be fed and the humble and meek who are to be exalted. Looking around our world human beings are not very good at paying heed to this. We are still very good at looking after our own and for instance here in the UIK reduce our Aid budget, buy millions more doses of Covid vaccines than we need whilst donating relatively few to those who cannot afford them and make it more difficulty for genuine refugees to get to this country.

Mary’s song is about turning the world upside down or in the modern parlance being counter cultural. It is not easy but then changing our ways is usually difficult.

Intercessions for 5th September 2021, Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary

As we pray to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we say with Mary: Lord, have mercy on those who fear you. Your prophets of old foretold a day when a virgin would conceive and bear a son who would be called God-with-us. Help us now to look forward to your deliverance and to seek the fullness of your kingdom.

Give your wisdom and heavenly grace to all those who serve the church in this Diocese of Coventry, to all who hold the office of clergy, and to all those lay people who minister or perform other roles; that, by their service, faith may abound and your kingdom increase.

Lord, in your Mercy:

Hear our Prayer

Lord God we pray for our leaders; for our Royal Family and for those who serve as ministers in Her Majesty’s Government. We pray for those who assume positions of leadership across the world; for Heads of State, for community leaders and for all those in public office. As they are called upon daily to deal with difficult situations, especially all that surrounds the ongoing Pandemic, we ask you to send them guidance, wisdom and breadth of vision.

Lord, in your Mercy:

Hear our Prayer

Creator God, we worship you as the one who has given us this life, and ask that you will help us to live it to the full. At home may we be the friends and neighbours that we really want to be. Help us to spread the warmth of your love to everyone we meet. Help us to see all our relationships and interactions with others as opportunities to share your love with all humankind.

Lord, in your Mercy:

Hear our Prayer

Loving God, your son Jesus came to open blind eyes, to unstop deaf ears and to heal hearts and minds made broken by the world. We pray for all those we know to be sick, unwell, injured or broken, whether in mind, body or spirit. Comfort those who need comfort, and guide the hands of those whose task it is to help the afflicted.

We raise before you all those known to us who need our ongoing prayers at this time.

Lord, in your Mercy:

Hear our Prayer

Merciful God, our journey through this life is short. We pray for all those who are coming to the end of that journey, or whose journey has already finished, and ask that they may come into your presence and kingdom. We pray for all those who have come before your face and now rejoice in the fullness of life eternal.

Lord, in your Mercy:

Hear our Prayer

Faithful God, we thank you that your wisdom not only enlightens us but transforms us and guides us in our daily walk through life with you. Help us to remain steadfast in our faith as heirs to your Kingdom and the stewards of your Word.

Merciful Father:

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen