Yesterday, March 25th, was the Feast of the Annunciation which remembers Gabriel appearing to Mary to tell of God’s plan for her. It also marks nine months before Christmas.

This sonnet is based on Luke 1:26-35. I have been taken with Malcolm Guite’s sonnet of the same event in which his last line says, “The Word himself is waiting on her word.” I love that. Meekness meets meekness.

In addition, another imagining that I have been taken with is Henry Ossawa Tanner‘s painting of the moment. In a predawn, lamplit moment, as a young maiden in an obscure village is interrupted in her prayers, an angel appears and speaks. The expression on the woman’s face is one of wonder, modesty, and curiosity if not a little skepticism. Yet she takes her calling in hand, not grasping in self-will or determination, but in humble faith saying, “Let it be to me as thou has spoken.”

The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896

In a no-where’s stillness while at thy prayers,
By thy lamp’s light came a presence holy
Who drew thy life into cosmic affairs
Mary, the Nazarene maiden lowly.

Gabriel hails, Lo, the Lord is with thee,
Favored one. Blessed, be ye not afraid,
For at thy word new creation is conceived
From thy womb’s waters the world is remade.

Mary, in this moment ‘neath Nazareth’s sky
We await thy word when all words come true
When thy meek willingness undoes the lie
By bearing the Son who makes all things new

Taking in hand what is giv’n unto thee,
As thou hast spoken, let it be unto me.

© Randall Edwards 2019.
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: Henry Ossawa Tanner [Public domain]

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