Thursday, December 03, 2015

In the Picture: Gabriel

Sandro Botticelli 1445 -1510

Read: Luke 1.26-38
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 favour 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 for ever, 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.  
Botticelli’s Annunciation is a tenderly painted vision of the moment when the angel Gabriel, the messenger of God, appears to Mary. He looks up at her, watchful and careful, as she seems to shrink away from him. The words on the frame of this picture quote Luke 1.35. ""The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." Gabriel has delivered his message, but Mary is struggling to take it in, and Gabriel seems very aware of this. He knows this news will change her life. He almost seems to be preparing himself to catch her if she falls.

  • Have you ever had to give someone life-changing news?
  • If you could talk to Gabriel what do you think he would want to say about this moment?

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