Hail Mary

Two years ago I voiced the reading from Luke’s Gospel, and as it was read out in today’s service I remembered about it.

This year I’ll be leading the prayers on Christmas morning (10am) in my Church, and attending Midnight Mass.

As I sat down for the service today, I joked with my friend Hilary about how irritating it once was to arrive early for a Roman Catholic service (ecumenism project) to find that as a result I would be stuck listening to 20 minutes of the “Hail Mary”, and that now every time I hear the words a little bit of me cringes. It went on and on and on. Hilary chuckled as she opened her hymn book to find part of the “Hail Mary” as part of our first hymn, and pointed to it as she grinned at me.

Great I said, as I looked up to the Church roof and said thankyou in a rather exasperated tone. More chuckles from Hilary. A slight groan from myself. There were seven verses and a chorus after each. Hmm.

And so we started singing.

Wherefore let all faithful people tell the honour of her name,
let the Church in her foreshadowed part in her thanksgiving claim;
what Christ’s mother sang in gladness let Christ’s people sing the same.

Hail Mary, hail Mary, hail Mary, full of grace.

It was actually quite good.

Why did I dislike the Hail Mary experience so much when in the RCC? Well, first of all the tone was so monotonous. Second, I hadn’t been given a service sheet, so I had no idea what was going on. Third, I was dressed far too casually and was sat on my own… nobody was smiling.

Singing some of the Hail Mary was much better. Mary is very important of course.

Fr David was preaching at my service today, and he talked to us about God’s calls for us, and how Mary’s call was something we can learn from. First of all Mary was asked, not told. And second, the calling is about obedience, but not about “do this or else”. It’s about allowing yourself to be enfolded in love, to trust, to be drawn into the deeper things.

Luke 1:30: The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.

Do not be afraid. May we be like Mary, may we love like Jesus.

Repetition isn’t always bad. But I’d just like to say that if someone sings Bind us together Lord one more time I’ll… I’ll… be irritated. Especially if more tambourines are added. I think I’d rather go with the monotonous on that one…

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