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Il Sassoferrato, The Virgin in Prayer, 1640-50
This Sunday we celebrate Mary, mother of our Lord.
From early on in church history Mary was honoured and esteemed. Jesus had ascended to be the judge of all creation, and the art of early Apostolic times shows him sitting in judgement with all creation being brought before him. Some people were judged worthy of entry into heaven but others were depicted as being sent to oblivion. At this stage of Christian history, Jesus didn’t seem very approachable, and so people turned to someone they thought they could approach with their prayers - Mary, a mother. She was seen as a source of comfort during the time of Christian persecution and an intercessor, a go-between, to Christ the Son, who judged the world.
Irenaeus called her the New Eve, Athanasius taught about her perpetual virginity, and the Council of Ephesus in 431 declared her to be Theotokos, Mother of God, because of the hypostatic union of divinity and humanity in the one person – her son Jesus Christ. If Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God (not of God the Father or the Holy Spirit, of course).
After the English Reformations, the English church played down the role of Mary because we know that we can pray directly to God the Father and don’t need Mary’s help in doing that. Jesus is the only intercessor we need. If we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will speak for us. Anglicans do not pray to the Virgin Mary nor to any of the saints. Instead we ask them to join with us in our prayers as we are all part of the Communion of Saints, on earth and in heaven, continually praying to and worshipping God.
Anglicanism has not generally accepted beliefs concerning Mary's immaculate conception, perpetual virginity nor her bodily assumption to heaven after her death. These are counter-reformation dogma more formally adopted by what then became the Roman Catholic Church as a reaction against the reformations in Europe and in England. Some may hold these views as pious opinions but there is no scriptural basis for them.
We speak of Mary with reverence because she accepted God’s call to be the Mother of our Lord. She was present at his birth and at his death. She was chosen by God and willingly accepted this unique role in salvation history.
Lady Chapels, such as our own and from where this morning’s video service was filmed, is a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is common to most cathedrals and in many churches. Below is the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey, burial place of many English kings and queens.
Angela, our Parish Administrator, is back from leave and is working from home, during this lockdown period. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com. The Parish Office phone still redirected to my mobile phone as most of the incoming calls relate to funerals and interments which have to be done on site.
We have been blessed with new dial-in access to our document servers which will assist us working from home while we are not easily able to access the Parish Office. A priority will be to ensure that the email address lists that we use to communicate with you at home, are more fully populated with names and not just email addresses.
This week at our monthly Deanery meeting of the local Anglican clergy spoke of what we are learning during this lockdown and pandemic about our churches, our people and ourselves.
Details of our on-line services and bible studies can be found on our At Home @ St Andrew’s webpage click here, and join us our ‘Catch up with the Vicar and friends’ on Wednesdays at 10.30am. You can join on line or by phone. If you need help connecting with us for any activity, call me on 0421 321 321.
Click on the times above for the links to join these studies.
Other activities which may also interest and which you can join on-line:
“Pilgrimage in Lockdown” – a Zoom talk and discussion on isolation, pilgrimage and the wisdom of the desert, led by the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York –
Virtual reality, digital social relationships and how young people can navigate the opportunities and pitfalls of the online world are all up for discussion on this month's episode of Angles on Science, Faith and Culture. Host the Revd Dr Chris Mulherin is joined by Dr Katherine Canobi, a cognitive development scientist and author of the young adult science fiction novel Mindcull, and Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Philip Freier. The podcast is now available by searching for Angles on Science, Faith and Culture on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts, or click here to go to the website and follow the links.
Michelle and I trust that you will all be able to stay safe in the coming weeks.
依勒内(Irenaeus)称她为“新夏娃”(New Eve)，亚他那修(Athanasius)教导她永远保持童贞，以弗所(Ephesus)在431年宣布她为“神之母”(Theotokos)，因为神性和人性的实体结合在一个人身上——她的儿子耶稣基督(Jesus Christ)。如果耶稣是上帝，那么玛利亚就是上帝的母亲(当然不是圣父或圣灵)。
在本月的《科学、信仰和文化角度》(Angles on Science, Faith and Culture)中我们将要讨论虚拟现实、数字社交关系以及年轻人如何把握网络世界的机遇和陷阱，牧师 Dr Chris Mulherin博士 将主持本节目，认知发展科学家、青少年科幻小说《Mindcull》的作者Katherine Canobi博士以及墨尔本圣公会大主教Philip博士共同参与。