Footprints daily reflection: 25 March

Lady Day

Author: The Reverend Canon Elaine Murray

Journey through Lent with Christian Aid's series of reflections called Footprints

Bible reading

Luke 1:26-38

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.

Luke 1:37


Today, 25th March is the feast of the Annunciation, a 'Principal Feast' in my Anglican denomination. It is no coincidence that the date falls on or about the Spring Equinox, understood in ancient times to be the day of God's Creative Act. When the calendar system of Anno Domini (AD) was first introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th Century, he actually began the new year on 25th  March, because according to our Christian doctrine, the age of Grace began with the Incarnation of Christ at the Annunciation, on which actual date Jesus Christ is believed to have been conceived in the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.

Today is also often referred to as 'Lady Day'. The Mothers' Union, of which I am a proud member, has long used Lady Day as their own special day, finding in Mary's assent to all that God asks of her a wonderful template for the Christian life. Mary's obedience and faith is a particularly good example to us as members of the MU as we attempt to reach out in service to families and communities.

When I was in Nazareth in 2006 as part of a Sabeel International Conference, I visited the Basilica of the Annunciation, a Latin Catholic Church established centuries before at the site where, according to tradition, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. In a long Gallery there, I was drawn to the enormous amount of mosaics representing Mary in many other cultures. I eagerly searched for Ireland's one (I was getting a little home-sick after 10 days away!) and I wasn't disappointed when I found her.

If you'd like to view all these wonderful Madonna Mosaics, the following link is excellent.

A recent Lady Day Service from the Mothers' Union included the thought provoking words from poet John Birch, which speaks to those of us who lead ordinary lives yet who are trying to be aware of what it is that God is calling on us to do in these extraordinary times. 

When does an ordinary life 
Become extraordinary 
A mundane day
Become revolutionary
A moment in time
Change history?
When God enters in
Forgives sin
Allows us to 
Begin again
When we repeat
Those words of Mary
‘May it be to me
As you say’

John Birch



May we hear what God is saying to us this day and may we reach out in solidarity with one another across this hurting world as we remember the trusting faith and that first great 'Amen' of Mary. We pray for a greener and gentler world to come - for nothing is impossible with God.

We ask this in Jesus' name.



The Revd Canon Elaine Murray is the Rector of the Carrigaline Union of Parishes, Diocese of Cork , Cloyne & Ross. Carrigaline Union is a Fair Trade Parish, an Eco Congregation and an Open & Welcoming Congregation Changing Attitudes.