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Church vs Port Adelaide + Good Friday and the Annunciation, together again

Thursday 24 March 2016

A power church: The Australian credits David Koch, the Seven Network Sunrise host, for saving the AFL Port Adelaide power team from death. But it was not just that resurrection motif that caught Obadiah’s eye. Koch deliberately made Port sort of like a church:

“When we first started panning [basing the club at] Adelaide Oval, I said to everyone ‘Let’s look at the best marketing organisation in history: the church,’ ” Koch said.

“When people go to a church, they feel part of a congregation. They feel special. They have rituals. When the fans sing (INXS’s) Never Tear Us Apart, it’s spine tingling stuff.”

A Good Friday: This Good Friday is also for the church-calendar-minded the traditional date of the “Feast of the Annunciation” or more simply the day that the archangel Gabriel had good news for Mary. (It is no accident that it is exactly nine months before Christmas day.)

This means that on this special day, by calendar coincidence we remember the beginning of Jesus’ life and his death. He was a baby conceived to die.

Good Friday and the Annunciation occur on the same day only very rarely. It last happened in 1910 and 2005 and will next happen in 2157. (For Western Catholics the Annunciation this year has been moved to next week – they don’t like having the two things together). Episcopalian (a US based Anglican) blogger, Tobias Haller reminded Obadiah that the two days came together in 1608 and the poet John Donne was around to write a special poem on it:

Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day. 1608

Tamely, frail body, abstain today; today

My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.

She sees Him man, so like God made in this,

That of them both a circle emblem is,

Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day

Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away;

She sees Him nothing twice at once, who’s all;

She sees a Cedar plant itself and fall,

Her Maker put to making, and the head

Of life at once not yet alive yet dead;

She sees at once the virgin mother stay

Reclused at home, public at Golgotha;

Sad and rejoiced she’s seen at once, and seen

At almost fifty and at scarce fifteen;

At once a Son is promised her, and gone;

Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John;

Not fully a mother, she’s in orbity,

At once receiver and the legacy;

All this, and all between, this day hath shown,

The abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one

(As in plain maps, the furthest west is east)

Of the Angels’ Ave and Consummatum est.

How well the Church, God’s court of faculties,

Deals in some times and seldom joining these!

As by the self-fixed Pole we never do

Direct our course, but the next star thereto,

Which shows where the other is and which we say

(Because it strays not far) doth never stray,

So God by His Church, nearest to Him, we know

And stand firm, if we by her motion go;

His Spirit, as His fiery pillar doth

Lead, and His Church, as cloud, to one end both.

This Church, by letting these days join, hath shown

Death and conception in mankind is one:

Or ‘twas in Him the same humility

That He would be a man and leave to be:

Or as creation He had made, as God,

With the last judgment but one period,

His imitating Spouse would join in one

Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone:

Or as though the least of His pains, deeds, or words,

Would busy a life, she all this day affords;

This treasure then, in gross, my soul uplay,

And in my life retail it every day.

Correction: this story has been edited to show that the feast of the Annunciation and Good Friday last coincided in 2005. Thanks reader, Jono Pettitt.

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