Good Morning, Christ Church!
I am trying to spend less time on social media. That may seem counter-intuitive in our present circumstances. But so much that is posted, beyond the personal stories of those we love, is just so toxic. The vitriol, sarcasm, and anger contained in many posts tends to fuel the same in me, and that I do not need!
However, every once in a while, I receive something that is truly beautiful in the truest sense of the word. That has happened twice this week. The first came in a text from Holland, my daughter. It is a video entitled “The UK Blessing.” https://youtu.be/PUtll3mNj5U It is a “virtual choir” comprised of members of a variety of churches from many denominations and expressions across Britain. It is a powerful reminder that Jesus Christ came to unite and not to divide, to heal and not to wound, to love and not to hate. At the conclusion of the video there is this message: “Our buildings may be closed, but the Church is alive.” Amen. And may it always be so.
The second video came to me by way of my brother, John. It is a video poem composed by Tomos Robertson, also known as “Tom Foolery.” It is entitled “Hindsight’s 2020” and speaks to what could be a “Great Realization” that comes from all that is going on in the world right now. https://youtu.be/uMiUrdEYpxk In this Easter season, we must remember that each new day represents the hope of the resurrection. That is the great gift that Christ offers to us now. There are always new possibilities. There is always a silver lining in every cloud and the real possibility of change for the better – to come on home, like the prodigal son, to the love and hope that God has for the world that God created in the first place.
I commend both of these “meditations” to you, to your thoughts and to your prayers. Let me know what you think.
Friday, May 8, 2020 RCL Daily Office Readings, Year 2
AM Psalm 40, 54
“Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is trustworthy. Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:23-24, NJB)
Today, according to the Church Calendar, we remember Dame Julian of Norwich. Not much is known about her. But she did write a beautiful book entitled “Revelations of Divine Love,” which includes visions or “showings” that she experienced when she almost died at about the age of thirty.
In these visions, Julian had a profound mystical encounter with Jesus in the moments of the Passion. She found herself moving rapidly between absolute trust in God’s love revealed in Christ and an utter and overwhelming sense of abandonment and separation from that love. In the end, there was only love. She was left with a great sense of peace and joy and literally spent the remainder of her life contemplating these experiences. She writes that, after fifteen years of intense reflection, “I was answered in ghostly understanding: ‘Wouldst thou learn the Lord’s meaning in this thing? Learn it well. Love was his meaning. Who showed it thee? Love. What showed he thee? Love. Wherefore showed it he? For Love. Hold thee therein and thou shalt learn and know more in the same.’ Thus it was I learned that Love was our Lord’s meaning.”
After these visions, Dame Julian became an anchoress, living as a recluse in a small room attached to the Church of St. Julian. But she always welcomed the stranger to her door and her reputation as a counselor and spiritual director spread far and wide. Her gifts and skills were rooted in her deep understanding of Christ’s love, an appreciation that made her a careful listener who always, after prayerful consideration, responded to her visitors with great and heartfelt compassion.
As one biography states, “Dame Julian’s book is a tender and beautiful exposition of God’s eternal and all-embracing love, showing how his charity toward the human race is exhibited in the Passion. Again and again she referred to Christ as ’our courteous Lord.’ Many have found strength in the words the Lord had given her: ‘I can make all things well; I will make all things well; I shall make all things well; and thou canst see for thyself that all manner of things shall be well.’”
May Dame Julian’s faith strengthen our faith in these days and may her compassion for others become our compassion.