>This morning at St. John Orthodox Church here in Memphis, we celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation. As this beautiful hymn declares:
Today is the beginning of our salvation,
In his homily this morning, Father John Troy commented on this hymn, saying that this feast is, in many ways, more significant (my word—I can’t remember his) even than Pascha, which is “the feast of feasts” in the Orthodox Church. He went on to say that at Pascha we celebrate victory over death, which is something he can wrap his mind around better than what happened at the Annunciation, when God entered Mary’s womb, which was truly the beginning of our salvation. It is, indeed, a great mystery.
The most mysterious woman of all time, the Holy Virgin Mary, answered God’s unthinkable request—to offer her womb for the conception of His Son—with these words, “Be it done to me according to Thy will.”
I think I love this character because she is so alive. And so honest and real. She goes after life with everything she’s got. And she’s got plenty of wounds—she was sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a child, and her sister was killed by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Powerful backstory—kudos to series writer, Nancy Miller. Watch an interview with her here, where she talks about the mystery of God and His love for us, how life is messy, and the importance of writing the truth.
But one I can identify with. I can also identify with Grace’s anger towards Earl at times, although I don’t have a gun and wouldn’t know where to aim it if I did, since I’ve never actually seen my guardian angel, or any angel. (I know people who have.)
Last year on this day I was preparing to teach an iconography class. And yes, I still need to finish the two icons that Kerry and I have been working on for the nave for about two years now. We’ve scheduled days to work on them together twice during Lent this year, but we’ve each had to cancel once. I’m so into my writing projects that I’m having trouble pulling away from them and getting back to painting icons. Maybe painting icons is an important way for me to embrace my grace. But not today. Maybe soon.