My homework for small group this week was to look up Lady Julian of Norwich.
She was a 14th Century mystic – a lady with visions, who wrote them down becoming the first woman to write a book in the English language.
The doctrine and revelations were a bit askew from church doctrine (including that of today), but she got away with it. You see, she was an anchoress, meaning that she lived 24/7 in a tiny cell in the church.
She even gave up her name -- Julian is the name of the church, and Norwich the location.
Apparently that level of devotion earned you a bit of respect, so you could talk about G-d’s love being all about joy and compassion rather than the more trendy law and duty, and the church doesn’t slap your hand.
I could quibble with her theology myself, but since I can't get through lent without candy, I'll give the lady walled up in a church for decades a bit of latitude.
The cell for anchoresses had a rule – they needed three windows that opened. One into the church so she could hear mass; one to her servant (even an anchoress has got to eat); and one to the outside, so she can give advice to any who ask for it.
Imagine a “The doctor is in” and “5 cents” plastered to the wall outside, and you get the picture.
This is where the “anchor” in “anchoress” comes from (next week we will discuss who put the “ram” in the “ramalamadingdong”) – she wasn’t to be isolated from the world, but anchored to it.
A life, really, of talking to G-d and to the people passing by.
(Referring to G-d): “He is our clothing. In his love he wraps and holds us. He enfolds us for love and will never let us go.”
“God accepts the good-will and work of his servants, no matter how we feel.”
And her most famous line:
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
What can one say to that other than, “Well said.”
Just my thoughts,