The Annunciation and John 17
The service was abbreviated Evensong transitioning into Holy Communion. This was very nice because it brought in the Old Testament reading along with the (scripture appointed for the) Epistle and Gospel. We celebrated the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, normally on the 25th but transferred to today. One thing different which I don't recall seeing before was that the crosses remained veiled, but today in white.
We tried to "do it up" a bit also with incense too (I served as Thurifer), but this was a service in which it seemed nothing went quite right, right down to the folks who got caught in traffic trying to get to church. Our numbers were down a bit from usual, including our strongest voices. A more detailed walkthrough beforehand would have helped... but we didn't have time.
Still, for all it was in Lent the service was a little bit of Christmas, in a way, looking forward 9 months to the celebration of our Lord's birth and this was reflected in the readings.
After the service we had another of our delightful light suppers, with more hands than usual involved. When ever did St. Bartholomew's have so many good cooks and chefs?!
And then... our "surprise" guest. Well, he was a surprise to some of us but others of us had guessed. The Rev. Dr. Peter Toon conducted our last Lenten class on John, John 17 in particular (Jesus' last prayer before Gethsemane), and it was challenging to us in many ways!
One thing that rang so true with me, because I've felt this for a long time, is the Commission in that prayer: "God has given us a treasure and we want to share it with the world." We have a treasure, and in the most unchurched corner of the country I'd love to be able to share it. (For all I tend to be really shy.) Anglicans, at least in North America, tend not to be very good in this area.
Talking about this with Fr. Daniel afterward I was reminded of a document I'd found online a few years ago, "Evangelism for Anglicans" or something like that: a study course in preparation for evangelism. I guess I need to dig it up and forward it to him for evaluation.
If only because I think God has given us a beautiful treasure and we ought to be sharing it with the world. Thank you, Fr. Toon!