Friday, March 25, 2005

”Christ hither and away”

I wish I could post more on this very special day. Between a vigil and brief Morning Prayer at St. David’s, an excellent noon service at St. Matthias, and this and that, it’s been hard to post.

But I can’t let this day pass without noting it. I’ve already posted on how this is a particularly special Holy Week for me (and will post more tomorrow). But this Good Friday stands out in being on Annunciation Day, the day that celebrates the Annunciation to Mary.

Because of the rules of precedence for holy days, the Annunciation will be celebrated later, next week I think. But the correspondence is still very worthy of note. It is rare for one thing. If I have my facts right, the last time it happened was 1932. The next time is 2016 (which I guess makes Easter falling on my birthday, much less the 30th anniversary of my first profession of faith, very rare as well).

The excellent sermon at St. Matthias today noted it well, using a poem by John Donne, The Annunciation and Passion that he wrote for the same occasion. It begins:

TAMELY, frail body, abstain to-day; to-day
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away.

God, in all His pure love, came down to be one of us. Yet He “came and went away” because we could not endure Him. We hated Him. And we killed Him.

And yet His love for us was undiminished. Instead, it was manifested by His dying for us on the cross. “Greater love hath no man . . . “

Oh, Lord Jesus, we don’t deserve You becoming one of us. We don’t deserve You dying for us. We deserve only Your eternal judgement. Yet You’ve given us Your eternal love. You’ve given us even Your eternal life.

What can we say except thank You . . . thank You . . .

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