This weekend the Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation. It is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church, which even though it occurs during Great Lent, is celebrated with Divine Liturgy and a “lightening” of the fast. In other words, we eat fish. But that is not what I want to focus on today. Today I want to focus on how we honor the Theotokos, the All-Holy Mother of God.
One of the major obstacles non-Orthodox Christians have when it comes to embracing Orthodox Christianity is the great honor we offer to the Theotokos. We pray to her. We sing to her. We bow in front of icons of her. We even call out “Most Holy Theotokos, Save us!”…..all scandals for many Protestants, who often accuse us of idolatry. We are not pagans. We do not worship idols.
Many Protestants demand that we prove our honor of the Theotokos in the Bible, thinking they have cornered us into abandoning our honor of the Theotokos. If you have ever experienced this accusation, never fear! We have Scripture evidence, and today is the day we recall the passage. “Henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed.” These words of the Theotokos are part a longer passage known as the Magnificat, a hymn of honor. Here is the entire hymn.
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."