the loneliness / lowliness of his handmaiden."
The Wash House, 1905
by Sir William Orpen (1878 - 1931)
At first glance, I saw this painting as a somewhat out of the ordinary depiction of the conventional Annunciation, with Mary going quietly about her business and the angel Gabriel appearing on the stairs to announce Mary's momentous role in the upcoming birth of Jesus.Women in the Night
But, no! This lowly, lonely, and no doubt tired handmaiden is scrubbing clothes on a washboard and the "angel" in white has not wings on her back but comes bearing yet more laundry!
For today's Feast of the Annunciation,
here are some beautiful lyrics from
The United Methodist Hymnal (# 274):
Woman in the night,
spent from giving birth,
guard our precious light;
peace is on the earth!
Come and join the song,
women, children, men;
Jesus makes us free to live again!
Woman in the crowd,
creeping up behind,
touching is allowed:
seek and you will find! (Refrain)
Woman at the well,
question the Messiah;
find your friends and tell:
drink your heart's desire! (Refrain)
Woman at the feast,
let the righteous stare;
come and go in peace;
love him with your hair! (Refrain)
Woman in the house,
nurtured to be meek,
leave your second place;
listen, think and speak! (Refrain)
Women on the road,
welcomed and restored,
travel far and wide;
witness to the Lord! (Refrain)
Women on the hill,
stand when men have fled!
Christ needs loving still,
though your hope is dead. (Refrain)
Women in the dawn,
care and spices bring,
earliest to mourn;
earliest to sing! (Refrain)
Text: Brian Wren, 1982
Music: Charles H. Webb, 1987 or Ron Klusmeier
Annunciation ~ Blessed ~ Feast or Peace?
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Annunciazione ~ Leonardo da Vinci