Mary, the Magnificat and the embracing of the feminine in Church Life
As I was walking the NYC Marathon this year I reflected on a lot of things I had missed when running through the boroughs. This was particularly true in Brooklyn where for the first time I saw the Green Wood Cemetery on 4th Avenue and then on Vanderbilt and Lafayette Avenues I noticed to my left a Cathedral of All Saints but there was something different about this one: It honored not the male dominating side of the Saint World but actually honored the female, or Mary the Mother of Jesus.
There are two tapestries that hang at either side of the altar. They depict the Annunciation and the Coronation of Mary as Queen of All Saints. These replaced the original three, which also included the Nativity. The pews are made of Norman oak and bronze light fixtures and fittings prevail throughout. The only other color comes from the light streaming through the magnificent stained glass windows, and from the tapestries. A four manual organ was installed, the largest in Brooklyn at the time. The Brooklyn Eagle indicated that noted experts claimed that Queen of All Saints would be the most exquisite church in America.
In some traditions we lose all mention and focus of Mary as if she were an after thought. She was God’s forethought. Before the birth of Jesus it was pronounced on her that she would be Blessed Among all woman. So why did it take until 1908 for anyone to think of erecting a cathedral in her honor. It took a progressive Bishop and Pastor to team up for this event.
This Christmas reflect of Mary. And woman’s role in holding space for the spacious love of God to be declared, demonstrated, and dedicated to the Glory of God of which the Angels sang that first Christmas morning.
What was magnificent was not that she was a young girl but that as a young girl she had a mature attitude toward her Judaic faith and the presence of and ability to listen to an angels message that had to be confusing.
Her response, “be it unto me whatever you want” is the classic response to whatever happens in our life as we make meaning and purpose out of what happens rather than believe on that God is ordaining al things that happen.