The visitation of Mary by the angel Gabriel has been depicted in many forms by artists over the centuries. The picture Lucy posted on Facebook and these are more modern representations. ….
Others are more culturally fitting…
Others more traditional…
Praying with Pictures
Begin by recognising God’s presence with you today.
Offer your prayer, yourself and your imagination to God.
Ask for something that you need at the moment…Patience? Faith?
Be open to the pictures, and notice your immediate like/dislike and be aware of that.
What is it that you like/dislike…colours, images, mood…
Spend time just looking/contemplating
What challenges you in the pictures? Do you see something new about the story/about yourself that you hadn’t noticed before?
What might these pictures tell you about Mary?
What might they tell you about God?
Which speaks to you most and why?
Talk to God about anything that comes to mind.
Finish with the Lord’s prayer.
Read the scripture from Luke which tells of the Annunciation.
Luke 1:26-38 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Take time and space to read again slowly, you can use this exercise to help focus if you wish:
Still yourself and relax slowly your body.
Be aware of the sounds around you, don’t try to block them out, acknowledge they are part of God’s creation too. Be aware of your breathing. Breathe in the breath of life and God, and exhale that which is troubling you. Try this for 3 minutes or so.
When you are ready, read the passage again. If your mind wanders, just bring it slowly back to the passage without being frustrated. Remember you are in God’s presence and loved.
Imagine the scene in your mind…..where is it, is it in a dusty room, in a kitchen, outside?
Listen for what you might hear; birds, conversation around, stillness, the sound of crickets?
What does the Angel Gabriel look like? How does the angel make you feel?
What does Mary look like? How does she feel? What is her expression?
Imagine you are there; are you the angel, are you watching from a distance, are you Mary?
Take your time……
What do the angel Gabriel’s words say to you; ”Do not be afraid…”
What do Mary’s words say to you; “…let it be with me according to your word”
Sit with this passage and your imagination as long as you wish, and come back to it if you wish.
When you are finished talk to God in your own words. Have a conversation with God about what has come up, or not, talk to God as you would a friend.
Give thanks for the space and time to pray and finish with the Lord’s prayer.