We have come to the end of 2020 and are about to begin 2021. Most everyone seems ready to be done with 2020. But here’s the thing. January 1st is really just the day after December 31st. In our Christian calendar which does not really acknowledge the “new year,” January 1 is the 8th day of Christmas after the 7th and we remember Jesus especially on the 8th day because little Jewish boys are circumcised and given their names on the 8th day after their birth. Jesus wasn’t even named Jesus yet when the shepherds met him, in other words.
All this to say, time is a strange thing. And the only time we have is the present. Sure we can and should remember and learn from the past. We should anticipate and hope for the future. But the only time we actually live in is the present. or Christians, this present takes on even more meaning by becoming eternity or what the theologian Paul Tillich called “the eternal now.” The present is not just a moment, but our life with God. And that eternity doesn’t start when we die, but is now in our living in this world and in the next, as we say.
Many if not all of us are ready to put this pandemic stuff behind us. We want racism to end. We would like everyone to have enough. But the truth is, God comes to us – Emmanuel – in the imperfect present. We won’t leave behind the challenges of 2020 by stepping into January 1 as if it were a different universe. Instead, we live out our faithfulness in the days God gives us, in the eternal now. And there is much to appreciate these days. There are many people to love. There is work to be done. People are getting sick. Our world is sick. Racism is clearly so deeply sown into our souls that we can’t just forget it and imagine we are done; there is more work to do for us to love our neighbor as ourselves no matter what they look like. And there are many folks who are suffering anew in this time of economic upheaval with too little and maybe even no work to do. How do we reach out and help?
Looking with hope and anticipation for the year ahead, there is a vaccine coming. There will be rebuilding and starting anew. Sometime in 2021 I hope we will again be meeting as the people of Kingston Parish in our church buildings for worship and doing all the wonderful outreach things we do together. Finances are tough for the church these days too. And we are sadly saying goodbye to many of our beloved members through death or their moving on to retirement facilities. I have recently been joking that we may need to open a satellite congregation in Williamsburg where a number of our folks have moved. There are things we are learning these present
days that will be invaluable in our rebuilding and starting
Our days are challenging and sometimes just plain diffi-
cult. And they are glorious and full of God’s Grace and
Love. Let us face the challenges of each present moment
with the eternal Grace and Love our God gives us.
Here we are at the beginning of a new liturgical year. And we begin our preparations in Advent for the coming of Christ – both as a babe in Bethlehem and as Divine fulfillment at the end of all time. It seems like a good moment to look at the whole story and think about the grand arch of God’s love.
It all began, remember, with God saying “let there be light!” And creativity and the loving of all creation came into being. Soon there was a garden in which God pulled up some of the earth and breathed the divine breath into it to create human beings in the image of divine love. In Eden there was justice, love, life eternal, walking with God. But human beings wanted something else; they wanted their own power and, frankly, love was not enough, they thought. So they sought to grasp at what you cannot grasp and the justice, love, and life eternal were lost, cheaply traded for easy control, blame, pride, and all the rest. Again and again God called out people to walk with God and find love. And again and again, we chose something else, something that looked to us to be better, but turned out to be so much less. Eventually the people of God are enslaved to sin and to the Egyptians, living in a place that was not home. God sends freedom and takes the people out into the desert to learn how to love and find their way to the promised land. God gives us commandments and food and water ... and love. It doesn’t take long for us to create a golden calf god we can control and define that is easier than God’s love. Still, God leads us to the promised land where there is hope of Eden yet again, hope that all will have food, no one will be enslaved, that all will know the love of God. And we find the little local gods and take them up. We enslave the poor. We gather wealth instead of creating the community of God’s love. And God sends the prophets to remind us that this could be the promised land and instead we are making it something so much less. In our selfishness we separate from one another, the northern kingdom of Israel from the southern kingdom of Judah, and in our weaknesses separated from our shared strength we are overcome by Babylonians and Assyrians, killed, enslaved and taken into exile – just as the prophets had warned. We return, a faithful remnant, to find our way again with God, only we are so broken that there are different factions and none of us seems to really know the way, although we all believe we know the way. The Essenes (the Dead Sea Scroll folks) separate out from everyone. The Pharisees know how to get it right; and they also know everyone else gets it wrong. The Sadducees are the opportunists who will do what they have to do to keep the people of God afloat, surviving. And in this dark time, controlled by the Roman occupation, God sends one more hope of Eden. God comes as a human being, Emmanuel, God with us, or as the Gospel of John puts it: the Word was made flesh and dwells among us. As Christina Rosetti will put it in her poem made Christmas carol: Love came down at Christmas. And here’s the thing about Jesus, God’s love incarnate: the Grace of Jesus doesn’t depend on us building Eden in the promised land or being good enough not to trade divine love for something less. In the cross, Jesus brings the love of God to face, straight on, all the evils we can muster, and he
transforms them into life and love, into resurrection.
As we prepare for the coming of that baby in the manger, what do you need that baby to bring to you and to God’s world? Ultimately the gift of Christmas is Eden, justice rolling down like waters and the full perfection of God’s love. But we seek it so often in the baby in our own baby steps. What baby steps will you take this year of all years? One gift, for sure: we all would love the promised land of a vaccine this year. In that poor refugee child born in a stable to unwed parents from far away, we find the hopes and dreams of all the years. And they are not only our hopes and dreams, but somehow even God’s hopes and dreams. May you see the everlasting light of God’s love in this season. Let us say with God: “Let there be light!”
Here we are at the month of giving thanks. We begin by giving thanks for all the saints who have come before us and the chance to follow them into God’s holiness. At the same time, we will give thanks for all the gifts of life and dedicate ourselves to God by making our financial pledges and promises for 2021. Ten days later, we give thanks for
all those veterans who have given of themselves that we might have more peace and freedom than we ever would have had without their work and sacrifice. Then, later in the month, we will celebrate Thanksgiving itself when we give thanks to God for everything.
And this year, Thanksgiving will be a little different. As most everything has been a little different this year. Most of us won’t be making long journeys to be with family. Many of us will not be able to have a table full of family and friends. And we won’t be able to have a parish hall full of people gathering to receive our thanksgiving meal and share in our fellowship. Like other times this year, we will be creative and find ways to zoom together, make and take meals to those who might otherwise not have one safely, and keep in contact and communion in ways that keep us all safe in the face of a pandemic.
How will you give thanks? What are you thankful for this year? It may just be me, but I think I am hearing folks say more and more “when we can be together again, I’ll ....” Someday we will be past the dangers of this pandemic and be able to be together in ways we have missed for over 7 months now. And there will be much to give thanks for
then! But God is also blessing us now. There is much to give thanks for right now in the midst of the pandemic. Here are a few new things I am thankful for these days:
There is always so much to give thanks for to God. Always. And this year is no different. I haven’t even begun with my list. What are you thankful for? How can you show God your thanks? And how might your gratefulness bring a richness to these days of pandemic, bless them and bless us all? We can expend our energies complaining that the cup is empty because of the pandemic, or we can fill it with all that God gives us today. Then we will discover that actually even now our cup overflows.
God’s Peace, Fr. Gary
In recent weeks in worship we have been reading the story of the Hebrew people freed from slavery in Egypt wandering the desert in the hope of eventually finding the promised land. In the desert wilderness, some of them rely on God, but many become frustrated and fearful and rely on their own ways. When Jesus is in the wilderness for 40 days to prepare for his ministry, his life is reduced to very simple struggles between the voices of angels and wilderness creatures which offer hope and comfort and the voices of evil which call him to take control, find easy answers, care for personal needs and let the world go. Jesus, we know, took the more difficult road of living through the wilderness without easy answers, with no power, and making his personal needs secondary to a life of love for others.
We are in our own wilderness these days. Between pandemic, racial tensions, political and economic upheaval and whatever else you might personally be dealing with, there are plenty of things to bring us as individuals and as a church body to that simple place where we live out of very basic beliefs and needs. The priorities that we choose to live by in these days say everything about the kind of people we are. Just as the way Jesus lived in the desert was his foundation for the rest of his ministry.
What have you let go of in this wilderness? What have you realized to be a major priority perhaps that had been lost in the shuffle of your previous ways of living? This wilderness time is a gift to explore who we really are, and how we will come out of this wilderness as people of God – or not.
The wilderness is beautiful, but it is not without its dangers. The Hebrews get tired of waiting and build their own God, a golden calf, to do what they want God to do rather than what God is already doing. They complain to Moses and decide he is to blame. It is a role of strong leadership to listen carefully to the people and face being the lightening rod for frustrations and angers without taking the blame for things beyond anyone’s control. I know a few of you are frustrated and angry with our bishops, with me, and with your vestry. There is certainly plenty to be frustrated and angry about. And I can vouch for the fact that your leaders, including yours truly, are one-hundred-percent human and capable of mistakes. But I can also vouch for our bishops and our vestry to be leaders of such faith and deep concern and compassion that they are people for whom I give thanks in this wilderness. I could not do my work without any of them. They are the angels in my wilderness and perhaps also in yours, certainly angels helping our Kingston Parish to live faithfully in these days and flourish.
There are hints that this wilderness is going to go on for quite some time (much more than Jesus’ 40 days but not nearly as long as the Hebrews’ 40 years), but there are also hints of the light at the end of the tunnel. May we strive to get there, but not just to get by until then. For it is how we live today that will be the foundation for our life in the years to come – as individuals and as a church. May we rejoice in the gifts God gives us today. May we look not for devils that will give us easy answers to deal with today’s challenges, but may we live as angels for others in the wilderness.
When Paul finds that the church family he helped give birth to in the far off city of Philippi is struggling in the wilderness, and he is in his own wilderness in prison in Rome, he writes these words: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). We are in the wilderness, but there is so much good in us, at Kingston, in our Episcopal Church, and in all God’s gifts to us. Let us not only think about these things, but celebrate them, cultivate them, and share them with the world with God’s generous love.
As a priest, one of the great joys and daunting responsibilities of my ministry is to be with people in times of crisis. I visit people worn by medical issues or isolated because of their age. I spend time among those who are struggling with addictions or mental illness or other chronic illness. With the church’s discretionary fund, I am regularly called to be with people in financial crisis often brought on by other, sometimes tragic, issues in their lives. And I am with people when they are near death and with families after someone they love has died.
At those times of crisis, people often experience great clarity of vision. They see their lives and human life with new eyes. Priorities change, things once valued no longer seem important and things too often ignored are now the main concern. Sometimes, of course, given a crisis, we ignore it. Often my job at a deathbed is to say what no one wants to hear: you are dying. Faced with addiction, someone has to say: you are power- less before the alcohol or the pills; you need help. Struggling with age, someone must hold up the mirror and say: you can’t do that anymore, you need to move to a care facility, you need a will and final directives. In all these cases, I get to bring not only the hard truths, but also the love of God, the care of God’s people, and my own love, too. And, of course, prayer with God.
Nowadays, the crisis is pandemic. It is everywhere and everyone. Our regular ways of busy-ness have been sidelined. Our comfortable habits have been disrupted. And there are new priorities. We are seeing our daily lives with different eyes. Some of us want to pretend it’s not so. Some of us want to be in control of things we cannot control. The struggle for all of us is real and hard. And all of us are called to be priests for one another.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
It is our calling as people of God to speak the truth in these dark days in order to bring the marvelous light of the Gospel to others and to the world. There are people struggling in this crisis. Truly, to some degree every one of us is struggling in this crisis. And we, as God’s people, are called to be present in ministry (maybe six feet away, with a mask, by phone, or virtually!). We are called to speak the words that must be heard. Sometimes they are hard words that no one wants to hear. Sometimes they are words of love and care and support. Often, perhaps, they are both.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:14-15)
What do Christian people do when faced with a crisis? They depend on God, pull together, speak the truth ... and they love in harmony. And they look for reasons to
One of the things that happens to families in the crisis of grief is that they either pull together in support of one another or they begin to break apart, bicker over inheritance, or even avoid one another as a way of avoiding the pain. In this crisis of pandemic, I have seen each of these tactics among us as the people of God who are Kingston. Here at Kingston, we are blessed with a vestry leadership that has pulled together in God’s love to work together in harmony in amazing ways! In the world, and sadly especially in our beloved country, I see so many people “choosing sides and bickering over inheritance.” As people of God, our task is to bring the love of God that unites us in truth and harmony. Harmony does not mean we all sing the same note (believe or vote the same way). As a matter of fact, you can’t sing in unison and have harmony. Harmony requires different notes side by side. And perhaps love does also. We do not love one another because we think exactly the same way. We love each other not in spite of our differences, but in many ways because of them.
We will continue to live in this pandemic crisis for some time to come. We are adding to that an election cycle that appears to be pulling us apart as Americans. It could pull us apart as Christians, and perhaps even as members of the Body of Christ at Kingston. May we always remember the big things – that God is so much bigger than this election, that we are called to love our enemies, that it is our unity as people created in the image of God that is far more primary than which box we check on election day.
Jesus Christ has called together people of all nations and ages and backgrounds into one Kingdom to sing together a harmony that is God’s. We are a part of that miracle sound. Sing in your own voice. And listen, always listen, for God’s voice. Sing for love of God and neighbor. And together, because of our differences, we will find the way from darkness to light, through cross and crisis to new birth.
I love to watch goldfinches in flight, their bright yellow bodies punctuated with black and white make waves in the air. Their motion is not unlike the butterfly stroke that I could never get right when I was on swim team in college. One grand wave of wings or arms and then there is that arrow movement where the body is streamlined to flow through the air and water and fall forward. The goldfinches rise with the flap of their wings quickly and then fall slowly in a long arc until they flap their wings again. In a way, I think of this time of pandemic as a time when we are falling forward. We can’t flap our wings for now. Yet we are moving ahead if we can just lean into the movement and have faith as we fall. I don’t guess the goldfinches have to think about it much. They fall forward out of habit. But the same move in the butterfly stroke on swim team didn’t come easy for me precisely because I couldn’t get my body to just fall forward. I wanted to flail more, flap and wiggle. I wonder if we could fall forward in faith like the goldfinches if this time would be easier. We want to make it end. We want to continue to rise in altitude. We are afraid of falling, and for good reason. But what if our falling into the rhythm of staying at home and working at a distance and wearing masks and all the rest is actually precisely what will move us forward. If we would only lean into the fall and trust that all will be well.
These days are days of fasting. Sometimes we have to fast from seeing each other. We fast from travel and just “getting out.” We fast from worship in church and from Eucharist where we commune with one another and our God. We streamline our bodies for the fall and stay at home, stay safe, worship online or at a distance outside, pray at home, commune with one another on the phone or in zoom on computer. It is all a bit strange and often I want to flail and wiggle. I want to get out and see friends. I want to receive and distribute the bread and the wine, the body and the blood. But right now, I am called to tuck my wings in and fall. And trust.
It is easy these days to imagine that this is detour from life as we know it. We await the time when we can go back to “normal.” But perhaps it would be better to think of this the way the goldfinches fly. This is not a detour. This is actually a large part of the arc of our flight. We are traveling with God. We have ministry to do -- not flailing and wiggling, but new and powerful ministry to do. Watch a goldfinch. The flash of the wings takes a moment as the bird rises. It is the long slow arc of falling when the bird really moves. These days are not wasted days They are days of fasting that show us life with new eyes and give us direction. Don’t just wait for the next time to flap wings. And don’t give in to flailing and wiggling as I used to always do in the butterfly stroke. We are falling with God. We are fasting from some of what we love, but there is so much to love in our fasting and our falling.
We live in a culture that wants to rise and work and flap and flail all the time. But God reminds us that it is more faithful to stop and be, to be still and know God, to love our neighbor not just with another act, but with all our heart and soul and mind. We are practiced at flapping ahead. These days, may we practice the streamlined falling into the arms of God that is also moving forward. And may we remember we are not just coasting, but this too is the joyful work of flying.
So here we are in week four-thousand-seven-hundred-and-twenty-three of the Corona virus blues – or did we just start all this yesterday? And if it wasn’t enough to try to live in near surgical cleanliness all the time to avoid a disease that could pass us by or could kill us and those we love or give any of us strange physical and psychological disabilities for months or the rest of our lives, we are also dealing with issues of racial inequality, political upheaval, economic depression and psychological isolation. It is a bit much these days.
So how is your faith helping you through? Where is God for you these days? How are you living out your baptismal vows while keeping social distance? (Your vows are in the Book of Common Prayer, pp. 301-302.)
Fasting on worship in our church buildings, we have been reminded of the theological and biblical truth that the Church is the people who make up the Body of Christ and not a building we attend on Sunday mornings for an hour, nor an institution. Fasting on Eucharist, we have discovered the sacred nature of our own dining tables again.
We are more aware than ever that the people and prayers we have together are very meaningful for us, and we miss the “old” way of gathering deep in our hearts. Hopefully, we are also finding new ways to stay connected with people and also to be deeply connected with God. Our online worship has become a rich source of connection and prayer for me. It took a while, to be honest. At first, I was pushing through all the zoom meetings and preaching to a computer screen because I had to. But I have found you all through these tools and discovered God doesn’t much depend on us being in the same room. I have also found God has a way of connecting us in the divine love in ways that are beyond my understanding – and definitely beyond my control.
Our ministry and worship are not only continuing, we are finding new ways of being faithful in our flexibility and in our deep rootedness in a God who is so much bigger than all those things that we are dealing with these days. I have never known so many challenges in my 30 years of ordained ministry. But I am constantly surprised and blessed with things in these days even as I also grieve what we are missing and have lost. The truth is, were we able to simply turn the clock back and return to the way things were, I would miss much of what I have learned and the ways the church has grown in these days. And, of course, we will not go back to where we were. Instead, God has called us into a whole new future that we are still only beginning to comprehend.
Perhaps you recall that when John the Baptist was in prison he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask if he was really the Messiah. After all, things were difficult. Surely the real Messiah was going to make it all easy and clear and strong and good. Jesus tells them: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. 23 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” Basically, Jesus is saying: “Sure, it’s not happening the way you expected or even wanted, but God is bringing good things; look!” (See Matthew 11:5 and Luke 7:22.)
We can sit and wait for things to get “better.” We can even imagine that things will go back to the way they used to be. Or we can follow Jesus and do worship and walk in the ways of charity in these days and these times as they are given to us. What I am seeing again and again is that God is doing amazing things in us and through us at Kingston and in our larger church in these days. We may not be doing things the way we always used to, or the ways we always expected we would, but God is bringing the Kingdom still and blessing us with ministry to be disciples of the living God.
“What is truth?” Pilate asks on that fateful day when he allows all the distracting voices of the world direct him to send Jesus to the cross.
The distractions of this world are loud and strong and they are multitude. In these days when we seek to care for one another and the world by separation and isolation, some of the distractions have disappeared. We don’t rush from one activity to the next. We don’t plan one visit with family and friends after another. The church does not have so many activities going on that the calendar has more ink on it than blank space.
Still there are distractions, of course. There are the constant reports of how many sick and how many dead.
And the worries that grow inside us There are the hopes of returning to what was. The list of things on our calendars we cannot do. There are political arguments. There are the worries at home about finances and the worries for our small businesses and the economic well-being of the world. There are all those things that keep us up at night. The CDC and the WHO say certain things as we come to understand more and more about the Corona virus, and others say the opposite. Depending on what news sources you trust, you can find all sorts of “truths.” And I spend much of my time trying to figure out who to trust.
And so we may ask with Pilate: “What is truth?”
Human truth is never 100% truth. We see through a glass darkly. Our own worries, fears, blindness, limited experience, desires and hopes color our world, direct our sight, translate all that is into the language that only we can speak. A friend recently posted an article about masks and handwashing and physical distancing that sounded absolutely factual, yet not a single thing in the article was true. The only source for the article was an author who, if you search for them, seems most likely to not exist at all. But the article said things that my friend wanted to believe, so she did, at least for a while. We see this in our world and perhaps, if we are honest, even in ourselves. We believe the easy answer that we want to believe because the challenge of the Truth is more than we can bear on our own.
Enter Jesus. Enter prayer. Enter faithful waiting on the Lord in patience to rise on wings like eagles.
Jesus stood before Pilate and was the Truth. But Pilate was distracted by all the world’s busy-ness. Prayer, if it is authentic, is not just telling God to fix what we want fixed, to cure those we love who are sick, or to help us to find happiness. Prayer is looking deeply at ourselves and discovering our false motivations that want to believe something other than the difficult and life-giving Truth of God. Prayer requires us to set aside all our distractions and spend time in the presence of the God who is Truth. Prayer calls us to be honest about who we are and our limitations. And prayer calls us to live out our lives in the messiness of a world of distractions grounded not in what we want but in God who is always beyond our understanding even as God is present in you and me and all around us.
There are plenty of quick fixes out there and plenty of easy answers. But there is really only one Truth. Dig deep. Pray hard. Courageously and unceasingly search your life and the world for what is true. Don’t settle for falsehood or answers that make you feel better. Pray. Pray with all that you are.
What is truth? The life God gives us in Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. It is right here, standing before us. Truth. It is a gift from God and yet it costs our lives. We cannot possess it; Truth possesses us. We receive it in God’s Grace and on God’s timetable. And may we work with all that we are to welcome it into our lives and to share it with others. For it is Good News for the world.
] For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: ... a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing ... (From Ecclesiastes 3).
We are in a season we have never quite experienced before. Yet it is still a season under heaven. That is not to say that God ordained this virus. Rather it is to say that God redeems all times and places. And God calls us to be a part of that redemption.
In this season of not leaving home in order to reduce the dangers of the virus spreading to ourselves, those we love, and especially those who are vulnerable because of age and medical conditions, we are blessed with the chance to be faithful by being disciplined at home. Even those of us who are, like myself, introverted homebodies by nature, are finding this discipleship challenging. But this is the season for a love that shows itself by staying home.
This is a season to stop and pray. This is a season to call a friend on the phone. This is a season to clean out that closet. This is a season to bake bread. This is a season to love those in your home with you. This is a season to stop all our busy-ness and face the reality of who we are by God’ Grace rather than what we are by what we do.
Jesus began his ministry by going off alone for a long, long time. Moses spent – according to the people at the bottom of the mountain – way too much time away and alone with God. The great Celtic saints I love, notably Columba, Aidan and Cuthbert each had “hideaways” – places they would go alone to be with God so they could be grounded to do the ministry God gave them to do when the season came to be engaged in the community again. We have long been people who have neglected our time away. If we go to the desert, we go with an RV, picnics and televisions and smartphones. Mount Sinai is quiet not because God is not present, but because we are too busy to stop and wait and watch before the holiness of the burning bush. We don’t want to take off our shoes on this holy ground; we have too many places we imagine we need run.
This is not a season of waste or a time only of trial. This is not a season only for fear and uncertainty, but a season for faith and worship. This is a time for us to engage in the deep and life-giving work of prayer. This is our time to set priorities and discover direction. This is our time to love from afar.
How are you living in this season? How are you being the church of Jesus Christ in this time? (For surely we have had to learn that church is not a building or an hour on Sunday morning, but just as Scripture tells us, it is the Body of Christ doing the work of God in the world; church is us.) May God bless you in this season of not embracing. And may we each bless God in these days also.
God’s Peace, Be Safe, Be Faithful, Be Loving,
One of my favorite saints is a woman whose name we do not even know. We know she lived in Norwich, England and was born about 1343. She eventually took the name of the parish church where she prayed which is St. Julian’s – probably Julian of Antioch who died a martyr sometime in the early 4th century. At any rate, Julian of Norwich, lived in the small cathedral city in the 14th century that was characterized by three rounds of bubonic plague. In 1373, when she was about 30, she became deathly ill. The parish priest came to her bedside and set a large crucifix in front of her. Staring at the crucifix in her fevered state, she experienced 16 visions of Jesus on the cross telling her all manner of things about her, God, and everything. She recovered from her sickness, became an “anchoress” living in the church and offering her constant prayers for the people of the parish. (We have many such anchors among us in our congregation and in our larger church today!) And she spent the rest of her life writing down and wrestling with the things Jesus had shown her from the cross in her sickness. Today we have her book where she grapples with all God showed her.
Sometimes it is in our darkest moments when we see the clearest. There is no doubt in my mind and soul that in the upheavals of these days, God has many new things to reveal to each of us with clarity and, of course, with divine love. Who knows how we may grapple with the life-giving things God shows us in this time for the rest of our lives! Pay attention these days to what you might see. Let the strange newness of these days be grounded in the unchangeable love of God. Look on Jesus and see what he says to you. Anchor yourself in our parish and know you are not only among people who love you but you are in the almighty heart of the one who gave everything to save you.
There are many wonderful images and ideas in Julian’s showings. But perhaps the most lovely image is memorialized in a stained glass window in the little parish church in Norwich. In the stained glass St. Julian looks to Jesus on the cross, suffering, and sees the painful nails and hard wood turn to spring flowers. Jesus smiles. Almost dances even on the cross. He mothers her through her life. And says “All shall be well. And all manner of thing shall be well.” There will be difficult moments ahead. There will be moments of Grace and glory ahead. And perhaps some of the moments will be both. May we see with clarity, our savior, and know with faithful certainty that all shall be well.
The Very Rev.