Jottings, Curios, Ramblings and all




PA’s Ponderings (13/2020)




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 Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured 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 favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38

Yesterday was Feast of the Annunciation, when the church celebrates the angel Gabriel’s appearance to St Mary, and the extraordinary courage of her response.

In our pattern of morning and evening prayer we usually begin the offices by praying the Angelus (meaning ‘messenger’), a prayer which recalls this meeting of Mary and Gabriel and which gives thanks for the gift of God’s presence with us in the Incarnation, made possible and real through the Blessed Virgin Mary – made possible and real by her bravery and strength, as she accepts a calling which will take her to difficult places as well as wonderful ones. Made possible and real by her faith and trust, as she turns to look God’s unquenchable love in the face and says ‘let it be with me according to your word’.

Mary is often depicted as serene and gentle, but I can’t imagine she wasn’t also a force to be reckoned with.

She was (and is) a person of profound wisdom, too – an aspect of her nature which becomes the heart of the Beatles’ song Let it be. (You can listen here if you like:

At the moment in the news and on social media we see many people searching for some wisdom to help make sense of all that is going on the world at the moment. I’ve seen a lot of people turn to Tolkien, particularly to a passage in the Lord of the Rings, when Frodo is growing weary of facing trials and making sacrifices as he carries the ring of power to the only place where it can be destroyed, to prevent Evil from overtaking Good in the world he belongs to:

[Frodo] ‘I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.’

[Gandalf] ‘So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’

For Frodo it is a Garden of Gethsemane moment – his wish is ‘let this cup pass from me’. His vocation/destiny, like those of Jesus and Mary, is to transform the world for the better at a cost to himself.

In a different way, we are also being called to transform the world for the better at cost to ourselves, by changing our lifestyles and giving things up, and trying to do what we can do to help others, out of love for our neighbours. ‘Deciding what to do with the time that is given to us’ will sometimes be very joyful, when we participate in or experience acts of great kindness and bravery, discover new interests and sources of delight, or find new ways to get in touch with people we care about and have not seen for a long while.

Sometimes it may be difficult, though, and having faith in a loving God does not shield us from having sometimes to bear things which are hard. But faith can help us to find hope and peace and joy in difficult and strange times, because faith tells us that we are not alone in the times when we are struggling. We belong to a God who gets it, who, through the Incarnation which we celebrate as we remember the Annunciation, knows and loves and blesses humanity and all that we go through.

Now more than ever we are being invited and called to be kind to ourselves and to each other, to look out for each other, to see where light and joy and good cheer can be found and to share that with others – while not beating ourselves up if we sometimes find it hard. We are held and understood by God whose love and compassion for us are greater and deeper than we can imagine. There is much kindness and grace and hope to be seen and felt in this world. And we are surrounded by the prayers of St Mary and all the saints, the prayers of this church and community, and the prayers spoken and intended throughout the world. We are still very much one body, caring for one another and sharing the hope we feel. ‘And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.’


With love and prayers,



Catch up on online HPC services sent out this week:

Evensong for the Annunciation. Access on YouTube HERE.

Click Prayer for a short contemplative service, recorded in the Rectory Oratory. It includes a short excerpt of teaching from, and fifteen minutes of shared silence.

Hornsey Parish Church