Season after Pentecost, 2023
The Very Rev. Eric Milner-White, who was not without a sense of humor, included this "Alternative Fifth Lesson" in the first published version of the liturgy for a "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols"
ALTERNATIVE FIFTH LESSON
The Annunciation - Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445-1510)
Gabriel is troubled by Mary's words
And in the sixth month the virgin Mary was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to an angel whose name was Gabriel. There was also a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, but lo, he factoreth not into this version of the story; and the virgin’s name was Mary, but I've already said that. And the virgin came in unto the angel, and said, Hail, thou that art highly feathered, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among angels as is clearly in evidence by thine enormous wings. And when he saw her, he was troubled at her saying, and cast in his mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the virgin said unto him, Fear not, Gabriel: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. Gabriel was somewhat troubled by the spelling of "favour", but greatly troubled at the other bit, even more so than the amount by which he had been troubled initially. Mary continued nevertheless, He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Gabriel unto the virgin, How shall this be, seeing I have not a womb? And the virgin answered and said unto him, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And Gabriel said, Behold the handyman of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the virgin departed from him, quietly chuckling to herself.
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