Queen's counsel IV

December 2001

My first piece of course work at Queen's was related to Christian history and I was asked to identify some features of my local church, describe their history in outline and consider what they reveal about the influence that have shaped their history in the past.   For part of my response, I was drawn to the representations that we have of Mary, the Mother of God, in both the Church of the Holy Cross and at St. Nicholas Church.  I believe that we can learn much from Mary, even though little is recorded in scripture.

There is a prominent statue of Mary holding her Son at the junction between the old and the new parts of the Church of the Holy Cross. As we approach Christmas and consider again the coming of the Christ, it may remind us of the new life that Mary was asked to carry into our world. The stages of Mary's response are clearly described in the Gospel of St. Luke, where we read that her reactions were, first to be troubled, then to question and discover more, and finally to accept, without reserve, her new role. How often do we go through the same process when suddenly inspired by new insights?

In St. Nicholas Church, there is facing you as you enter a reproduction of a painting from Papua New Guinea that hangs in most of the Anglican churches there. This is a gift from the new church in PNG to our Parish in recognition of the support we have given them over the years - I find this image truly beautiful. It speaks to me of the richness that comes from diversity and of the importance of being able to receive as well as to give.

Ponder for a moment the words that we will hear again over Christmas from St. John's Gospel: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13) Think of the tremendous privilege that this implies - no wonder Mary was initially troubled, no wonder that she questioned what this might mean, no wonder that her spirit rejoiced once she had committed herself fully and come to realise how this could change the world - "for behold, from henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed." (Luke 1:48).

So, let us pray at this time for new birth:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners now, and at the time of our death.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
This page was last updated on 2001-11-03

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