Today is May 8. That means that on the calendar of the Episcopal Church, we are commemorating Julian of Norwich.
I was sitting in a meeting at clergy conference earlier this afternoon when the date on the materials jumped out at me and I recalled that this is Julian’s day.
It also occurred to me that this is the anniversary of my ordination to the Sacred Order of Deacons.
In her Revelations of Divine Love, she wrote: “The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw God in all things and all things in God.” She wrote that God “showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand. It was as round as a ball, as it seemed to me. I looked at it with the eyes of my understanding and thought, ‘What can this be?’ My question was answered in general terms in this fashion: ‘It is everything that is made.’ I marveled at how this could be, for it seemed to me that it might suddenly fall into nothingness, it was so small. An answer for this was given to my understanding: It lasts, and ever shall last, because God loves it. And in this fashion all things have their being by the grace of God…. It is necessary for us to know the littleness of creatures in order to reduce them to nothingness in our judgment, so that we may love and have the uncreated God. The reason we are not fully at ease in heart and soul is because we seek rest within them, and pay no attention to our God, who is Almighty, All-wise, All-good and the only real rest.”
…… “we are not fully at ease.” What an understatement!
In our clergy conference, which is focusing on congregational vitality, there is an undercurrent of dis-ease. We are all too, too aware of the “big issue” (the 800-pound gorilla in the room), every question seems to come back to it. We are not fully at ease, and I doubt we ever will be. We try to focus on God and on service to God and God’s People, but these “trifles” (as Elizabeth I called them) keep distracting and discomfiting us.
O Lord, may we find rest, and ease, and comfort in you!