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St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Middlesboro, Kentucky

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Middlesboro, Kentucky

Today is one of our favorite feast days as Daughters of the King’s at St. Mary’s. That is because it is the feast of St. Mary, Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ. While our church will be celebrating the event this Sunday morning, August 18th, at 11:00am (and you are welcome to come enjoy the Eucharist and later a potluck with us!), I have spent the majority of the morning humming/singing “The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came.” Although I know most people primarily sing it during the Advent season, it is a song I sing perpetually throughout Advent and on all of the feast days connected to Mary (and sometimes for no other reason than the fact that is is a beautiful song!).

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,

His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;

“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,

Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

“For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,

All generations laud and honor thee,

Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,

Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,

“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,

“My soul shall laud and magnify His Holy Name.”

Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born

in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,

and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say–

“Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

You can listen to it sung here, by the lovely voices at Kings College, Cambridge:

Of the words of praise to the Lord that emanate from the Scripture, Mary’s prayer (known as the Magnificat) is one of the most humble, willing, and beautiful prayers that are offered. In her words of praise and honor, Mary provides a powerful example for us to follow:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him

in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,

he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

for he remembered his promise of mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers,

to Abraham and his children forever

– Luke 1: 46-55, BCP, pg. 119

As we go forward today, we pray this prayer:

O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

-BCP, pg. 243