Blessed Virgin Mary

Reflection by Vyv Wainwright

I have just recently done the funeral of a lady who blew my cassock away. Once I heard her life story, I was struggling to find a suitable word to describe her. And then it came to me. Awesome! What an awesome lady. Putting it simply this lady did amazing things but did them against a challenging background filled with difficulty. And yet she did it all with no fuss and bother.

As I drove away from that meeting, I thought about some Celtic women saints who find to be rather similar. Firstly, I thought about Brigid. She is regarded as one of the patron saints of Ireland who evangelised tirelessly and was an amazing missionary who above all else is best known for wearing ‘sensible shoes.’ No killer heels here then. But she simply got on with sharing the Good News of Jesus which was her true inspiration.

Then I thought about Hilda. She was a princess living the celebrity lifestyle, the clothes, the shoes and then hand bag no doubt as well. But lip gloss aside tragedy struck for this poor lady as her husband died young. So, she changed the direction of her life. She became a Christian and then decided upon being a nun. And soon after she became a nun, she received a message from above from a passing sea gull.

Now many of us would be distressed and reaching for a wet wipe but not Hilda. No, she believed this to be a sign from above. And confident that it was she chose the very spot where she got pooped on to build one of the most famous abbey churches in the United Kingdom, Whitby Abbey. And it was a bit radical as well being a double monastery for both monks and nuns. These monks and nuns all did amazing work. Hilda also did incredible work by simply getting on with her life in a very plain and simple way, caring for the sick, the dying, preaching and teaching about Jesus.

Today we think about the Blessed Virgin Mary who was a bit of a nobody. She was a nice young lady going about her day-to-day life when suddenly an angel of the Lord turns her life upside down. ‘By the way love you are going to give birth to the son of God” No worries there then! Yet what I love about Mary is that she sings a number one hit out of sheer joy but if you look at the lyrics you might just appreciate how radical a song this is. It almost sounds like a manifesto. Go on read it!

Furthermore, she simply gets on with what she is called to do. Sure, it is not easy giving birth in a stable surrounded by cows, pigs and sheep but then she knows what she must do and gets on with it without fuss or bother. And we know that she quietly brought up young Jesus to be who he was meant to be. And she was always there with him right to the end of his earthly life.

Consequently, this lady has been an inspiration to millions of the course of history. She has shown herself to be a great role model not just to women but to men as well in following in the footsteps of Christ and all without any bother, fuss or performance. But can we do likewise as Christians or even as a church?

Can we just get on with sharing our faith in those day-to-day conversations, when appropriate? Can we just go and pick up our neighbour from hospital? Can we forgive the accounts department yet again? And can we live simply without fuss or performance?

This week I sat watching a Jo Biden look alike who is a seriously seasoned and successful business man (although he never talked about it). But what struck me was just like that lady I mentioned at the beginning of this reflection he simply does his work, he does not faff about with social media, Elbow Page, Chain Linked or Pip Pop but does his work instead. This way he points out he has achieved things without shouting about it on social media, Someone Else’s Tube or any similar media. He is happy, content, gives about 95% of what he earns to charities he supports and he goes to church. No fuss no bother just like Mary.

And the come bond for them all is? I think they all had a wonderful belief in Jesus, they all had faith in Jesus and they all listened obediently to Jesus rather than anyone or anything else. That way they went about their daily lives calmly, purposefully and fruitfully doing their best to live lives pleasing to God in a lovely normal everyday way.

Pray that we can go now and do likewise. So have a nice average, normal and blessed week doing to the best of your abilities the will of God. AMEN.