Isaiah 7:14 4th Sunday in Advent
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
My Theological College Principal was Maurice Wood, an evangelist at heart, a thoroughly “sound” evangelical and a great supporter of Billy Graham, whose signed portrait was proudly displayed on his desk. Although it was affectionately believed that Maurice possessed a pair of purple socks it was nonetheless a surprize when he was appointed Bishop of Norwich, a very large rural Diocese in East Anglia much in need of inspired leadership.
Within the Diocese of Norwich was a village called Walsingham where there stood both Roman Catholic and Anglican shrines dedicated to our Lady of Walsingham. It was believed that Mary had appeared to a noblewoman there many centuries ago. What would Maurice do? I understand it was in fact one of the first places he visited and with grace, sensitivity and clarity he went and preached the Gospel of Christ.
We will not want to exalt Mary in the way that is practiced by some, but we do well to note that she was indeed specially chosen and in her response to the angel’s challenging call on her life demonstrated exceptional humility. (RS)
“My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty has magnified me: and holy is his name.”
(from the Book of Common Prayer – the Magnificat)