I was having lunch with a priest colleague of mine today, who reminded me of the significance of today. “It’s the annunciation,” said the priest. The church calendar remembers the day Mary accepted God’s call.
As Protestants, Mary doesn’t usually receive her due in our arena of Christianity. She shows up in Advent and Christmas, when the lectionary text includes the wedding at Cana and as Jesus suffers in his final hours.
However, this is a woman who was sure to influence her son. So very little is said about this woman, but what mother doesn’t make an impression on her children? I would like to believe that the ministry of Jesus and his strong convictions not only came directly from God but also came from Mary and Joseph.
So the annunciation is the day empowering the life and works of Mary. It was the day Mary made her choice. When she was called to birth a savior, she chose yes. She risked the well-being of her life to carry a baby outside the confines of marriage. Through her power of choice, she accepted the call to birth a person and, in many ways, a movement.
I also find it ironic that March 25 is not only the Annunciation in the church but the birthday of the mother of modern feminism: Gloria Steinem.
Gloria has spent decades remembering the voices of women, empowering women to make choices for their own lives – including reproductive choices. Through her time working tirelessly for the cause of women’s equality, she delivered women from the oppressive systems of the past and opened doors to the impossible. Through her call to leadership, she was the midwife in the rebirth of a movement.
Out of any day of the year, I look at March 25 as the Day of Women’s Empowerment. From Mary to Gloria to all of us, we are given choices – more than ever before. This is a day to celebrate our power – a power gifted to us by our Mother God.
So as we wait for the Supreme Court to decide whether corporations can control the choices of women and as we watch more and more states come up with laws that try to control our bodies (including the imprisonment of women who give birth to stillborn babies), let us hope that God sends us new prophets to deliver us from controlling powers that be.