Thursday 25 March

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God most high,
whose handmaid bore the Word made flesh:
we thank you that for our redemption
you visit us with your Holy Spirit
and overshadow us by your power;
strengthen us to walk with Mary the joyful path of obedience
and so to bring forth the fruits of holiness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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.

Psalm 40.5–11
    Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God.
      How great your designs for us!
   There is none that can be compared with you.
    If I were to proclaim them and tell of them
   they would be more than I am able to express.
    Sacrifice and offering you do not desire
   but my ears you have opened;
    Burnt offering and sacrifice for sin you have not required;
   then said I: ‘Lo, I come.
    ‘In the scroll of the book it is written of me
      that I should do your will, O my God;
   I delight to do it: your law is within my heart.’
      I have declared your righteousness in the great congregation;
   behold, I did not restrain my lips,
      and that, O Lord, you know.
      Your righteousness I have not hidden in my heart;
      I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
   I have not concealed your loving-kindness and truth
      from the great congregation.