All Shall Be Well

Many times over the last few weeks I have thought of the phrase “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well…” from the writings of Julian of Norwich, who lived in the 14th century in Norwich, England. Little is known of Julian’s early life. In fact, Julian is probably not even her real name, but the name of the church with which she became associated as an anchoress – for much of her life she lived in a room attached to the church offering prayer and spiritual comfort to those who came to see her. What we do know is that the devastating Black Death came to England when Julian was 7, in 1349, and that she was witness to other tragedies during her lifetime including the English Peasants’ Revolt, which affected large parts of England in 1381.

When Julian was about 30 years old she became very ill and everyone thought she would die, but she recovered. In the depths of her illness she received visions from God that led to her writing “Revelations of Divine Love”, the earliest surviving book in the English language to be written by a woman. In this she wrote, “”God is nearer to us than our own soul”, a theme that is repeated throughout her work. She continued, “Jesus answered with these words, saying: ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’ . . . This was said so tenderly, without blame of any kind toward me or anybody else.”

I was introduced to Julian’s writings during a difficult time in my life, years ago. I began to pray her words of Jesus, “all shall be well…all manner of things shall be well.”  As we move through the season of Lent talking about Confronting Suffering and Evil, I am reminded again of Julian’s words.

This Sunday, March 17, we look at Where is God When People are Suffering? Julian’s words are a statement of trust in God – that God is present and working to bring good out of evil, health out of sickness, joy out of sorrow. Julian’s words also are a call to a way of life that actively seeks to bring “all shall be well” to fruition, in Jesus’ name.

Julian’s words bring to mind the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”.  This Sunday we look at the origins of that hymn as we remember, “all shall be well.”

Blessings,  Pastor Sharon