When Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy, according to his promise to Zechariah, the Lord sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth to a virgin, Mary, pledged to Joseph in marriage. Gabriel announced to her that she was highly favored, one who had found grace and honor with God. Obviously he told her that she would give birth to a son who would be great, and called the Son of the Most High. He would be granted the throne of his father David, and would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his Kingdom would never end. Mary asked him how this would occur, “since I do not know a man.” Gabriel did not rebuke her, but indicated that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her in order to bring about the conception of Jesus.After this amazing announcement, Mary visited Elizabeth, her cousin, who was pregnant with John the Baptizer. Upon her arrival, after receiving Elizabeth’s anointed greeting, Mary recited a song which revealed her heart’s praise to God for his favor on her and her people. This song, called “The Magnificat,” reveals the depth of Mary’s biblical and theological vision, a song that is filled with allusions, quotes, and biblical references from the Old Testament. She is aware of God’s commitment to the poor and needy, of his justice for the small and forgotten, and his ultimate judgment against oppression and the cruel. She acknowledged his special and unique favor upon her (Luke 1.46-50), and his covenant promise for his people, Israel, in the demonstration of his power, holiness, and mercy. Through his covenant promise and the Savior to be born, God would fulfill his promise and mercy to Abraham and his heirs. Mary’s response to the angel, her relationship with Elizabeth, and her Magnificat song reveal a deep heart, one that is thoroughly aware of the Old Testament covenant promise to Abraham, and the mercy of the Lord for his people. Mary treasured and pondered all the things that happened to her, deeply in her heart (cf. 2.19; 2.51). Her song reveals a remarkable depth and perception; Mary’s heart was profoundly deep, and shows a quality that every follower of Christ should both respect and imitate.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing to us the truth regarding Mary, the mother of our Lord. We stand in awe of her deep heart, her careful treasuring and pondering of the spiritual gems she encountered throughout her life. Create in us a heart that is deep and sweet, the kind of heart that tracks and treasures the truths of God we learn within our souls. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
--Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Affirmation from the Psalms
I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him,  so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him.  The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him.  I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.  My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted.  I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers.  He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’  And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.  My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.  I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.
~ Psalm 89.20-29
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord Jesus Christ, give us a heart to ponder the revelation of your coming, even as Mary pondered the truth you revealed at your birth.