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Reflection Title: 
Sure and Strong
Reflection Content: 

Are you tired, weary, in need of rest? Are you sometimes overcome by the pain of the world, and the suffering and injustice you witness on a daily basis? Julian of Norwich knew well what it was to suffer—both in her own body, and on behalf of the people of Norwich, with whom she interacted through a small window in her cell. In the midst of this pain, she drew comfort from visions of a very human Jesus in his own death and suffering, and the knowledge that he was present in her own. More than that, she looked confidently to the future, in the certain knowledge of a God who loved her, and who “wants our trust always to be sure and strong, in weal and woe; for he loves and is pleased with us, and so he wishes us to love and be pleased with him; and all shall be well.”

Story Title: 
All Things New
Story Content: 

Then I saw a “new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven, and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making all things new!” Then he said. “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

—Revelation 21:1–5

Contemporary Story Title: 
Contemporary Story Content: 

In October 1961, Laurens Van der Post, born in Africa of Dutch parents and author of Lost World of the Kalahari (1958) and Heart of the Hunter (1961), recounting his encounter with the life and world of the Bushman of the Kalahari dessert, the most ancient of peoples, gave lectures on the ancient Patterns of Renewal in which he tells the following story: 

My nurse in Africa, who was half Bushman and half Hottentot, told me a story. . . . Once in the days of the early race, there was a man who captured a superb head of cattle, all stippled and black and white. He loved them very much. Every day he took them out to graze, and brought them home in the evenings, put them in this thorn shelter, and milked them in the morning. One morning, he found that they had already been milked; their udders which had been sleek the night before were wrinkled and dry. He thought, “Well, this is very extraordinary. I couldn’t have looked after them very well yesterday,” and he took them to better grazing. But again the next morning he found that they had been milked. That night, bringing them back after a good feed, he sat up to watch. About midnight, he saw a cord come down from the stars, and down this cord, hand over hand, came young women of the people of the stars. He saw them with calabashes and baskets, whispering among themselves, creep into the shelter and start to milk his cattle. He took up his stick and he ran for them. Immediately they scattered and running for the cord they went up as fast as they could.

He managed to catch one of them by the leg and pull her back. She was the loveliest of them all and he married her. Their life would have been happy but for one thing. She had with her, when he caught her, a tightly woven basket with a lip fitted tightly into its neck. She said to him, “There is only one thing I ask of you and that is, that you will never look into this basket without my permission.” He promised. Every day she went out to cultivate the fields as women do and he went to look after the cattle and to hunt. This went on for some months, but gradually the sight of this basket in the corner began to annoy him. One day, coming back for a drink of water in the middle of the day, when his wife was away in the fields, he saw the basket standing there and he said, “Well, really, this is too much. I’m going to have a look into it.” He pulled up the lid of the basket, looked inside, and began to laugh. In the evening his wife came back and after one look at him she knew what had happened. She said, “You’ve looked in the basket.” He said, “Yes, I have,” and then added, “You silly, silly woman. The basket is empty.” She said, “You saw nothing in the basket?” “No, nothing.” Thereupon looking very sad, she turned her back on him and vanished into the sunset.

My old nurse said to me, “you know, it didn’t matter so much his breaking his promise not to look in the basket. What was so awful was that looking in the basket he saw nothing in it. That he couldn’t see all the wonderful things that she brought from the stars for them both.”

—Laurens Van der Post, (1906-1996). Patterns of Renewal

Artwork Title: 
An Everyday Saint
Artwork Content: 

Julian was not well known in her own time (c.1342–1416), and there are no medieval or Renaissance images of her. So little is known of her in fact, that we don’t even know her given name, and so must name her after the church where she was an anchoress. Her legacy stems instead from her written work, the Revelations of Divine Love. It was the first book to have been written by a woman in English, and describes a series of visions in earthy, everyday language. The formal Latin of the established church is exchanged for pictures of hazelnuts, parables of journeys, and the promise of Christ’s immediate, unmediated presence. This movement is significant, and reflects a broader movement at the time towards a more interior experience of faith. Even so, Julian’s experience and language do seem to be uniquely, and very femininely, hers.

Question Title: 
All will be well?
Question Content: 

Nothing Separates Us

“Sin is necessary, but all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

—Julian of Norwich, (c.1342-1416). Revelations of Divine Love

All Shall Be Well

Julian of Norwich was a fourteenth-century English mystic who lived in frightening times. The Black Death rampaged throughout the continent, passing through her own town three times in her lifetime. You can see in the stained glass the cell where she lived as an anchoress, attached to a small church in Norwich. In May 1373, while on her deathbed, that she had a series of sixteen revelations. These visions were personal, intimate encounters with Jesus, who came to her “with a friendly welcome.” In the midst of suffering, Julian understood that divine love remains present. She saw Jesus holding a hazelnut—a picture of all that has been made, seemingly insignificant in the hand of him who made it; and yet “he made it, he loves it, he keeps it.” Julian knew that though we would have many trials in this life, we could still be confident in the grace inherent in life knowing, as she came to, that “all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Music Content: 

The Twenty-Third Psalm (Dedicated to my Mother)

“The Twenty-Third Psalm (Dedicated to my Mother).” Bobby McFerrin, Medicine Music, Capitol Records, 1990. Track 12.


For I Will Consider my Cat Jeoffry

“Rejoice in the Lamb, Op. 30: For I will Consider my Cat Jeoffry.” Benjamin Britten, Christopher Smart, text, Britten: Choral Edition, Carys-Anne Lane Soprano, Andrew Lumsden, Organ, Chandos Records, 1997. Track 8. 


All Will Be Well

“All Will Be Well.” Daniel Dodd Wilson and Gabriel Dixon, The Gabe Dixon Band, Concord Music Group, 2008.

Image Theme: 
Image Thumbnail: 
Image Summary: 

Julian of Norwich, 1964. Moira Forsyth, 1905-1991. 

Story Audio: 
Contemporary Story Audio: 

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