Dear Spirit brothers and sisters,
A few of my favorite saints were born in November– Martin Luther, Martin of Tours, and Julian of Norwich. The woman we know as “Julian” was born on November 8, 1342. When she was thirty years old she suffered a traumatic, near-death event in which she received a series of revelations.
Following this time at the border between life and death, she composed the earliest known book to be published by a woman in the English language.
Her book’s most famous quote is, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
While this might sound like a “positive attitude” quote, it is not, because Julian’s medieval world was filled with wars, famines, plagues, terrorism, and thousands of people living in abject poverty. To Jesus she once protested, “Why didn’t God create us to be pure and holy to spare us all this trouble!” Then she received this insight from Jesus:
1. Sin is necessary for you to learn your limitations as human beings.
2. To learn your limitations means you will fail.
3. Failure means you will sin.
4. Sin reveals your need for God’s grace.
5. In order for you to relax and trust God amidst life’s many troubles and traumas, you must learn to rely upon God’s goodness instead of your own goodness.
6. When you discover this, by God’s grace, then you will realize: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Last month, the Courier cover featured this Julian of Norwich quote, “God loved us because he made us. And this love has never diminished and never shall.”
One morning I was surprised to receive an email with this painted icon from one of your previous interim ministers, Pastor Julia Hart (who sends you her greetings.)
Holy Spirit church, you all have experienced the pandemic, a recent fire, the retirement of a faithful pastor, and you look forward to calling your next settled pastor. With the universal church, we will soon begin the season of Advent, the time when we practice faithful waiting, living in the knowledge that because of the God we know in Jesus Christ, “All shall be well!”
May we relax into the always arriving goodness of God in Christ,