Easter: God is everything which is good.
Dear friends & members of St. Matt's,
Tomorrow is the feast day of Julian of Norwich. Mother Julian is one of the great mystics of our tradition. An English woman in the Middle Ages, she was an anchorite, which means that she was a very particular kind of religious person. She withdrew from "normal" life, and lived rather like a hermit. Her life was ruled by prayer and pattern, and she is remembered for the compelling ways she shared her visions of Christ.
Julian lived in a time that was deeply uncertain. Among other great trials of the age, she lived through the Black Death (1348-1350). If you remember your history, that was a particularly dangerous and scary time to be alive - and so little was understood about our bodies, transmission of the disease, or how to treat those who were suffering. Julian was a comfort to many who visited her in Norwich and has been a comforting companion to Christians across the generations.
She is perhaps most well known for her conviction that Jesus - his life, his witness - was all about love. In fact, her most famous writing is called Revelations of Divine Love. In it, she stresses that even though times are uncertain and sin clings closely to us, God is loving, compassionate, and merciful. Her understanding of God stood in stark contrast to the teaching of the church at the time which held up the image of a punishing, distant, often angry God. Instead, Julian shares visions with the church of a Savior who is ever present, gentle, and always loving. Like ours, her story is not uncomplicated - and yet, her witness is clear - which can be an example to us always, and especially in this moment.
I saw that God is to us everything which is good and comforting for our help. God is our clothing, who wraps and enfolds us for love, embraces us and shelters us, surrounds us for love, which is so tender that God may never desert us. And so in this sight I saw that God is everything which is good, as I understand.
In the midst of all that is uncertain, how can you see that God is everything which is good? And what might that change for you today? Not all of us will have divine visions and write controversial treatises on theology - but each one of us can find a few ways today to remind ourselves and the people around us of this love that is always with us - and is manifest in every blessing, every good thing that comforts and enriches us.
Know that you're in my prayers today as you look for - and to share - those good things.
Lord God, in your compassion you granted to the Lady Julian many revelations of your nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek you above all things, for in giving us yourself you give us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Speaking of good things...try this simple bread recipe - and bring it to our virtual potluck tomorrow! It's certainly not required for entry...but a nice way to be connected if you have the ingredients around the house!