“…all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Perhaps you recognize this prayer by Julian of Norwich, who lived during the Middle Ages and is the author of Revelations of Divine Love. Although she lived centuries ago, Julian’s stories have resonated with people, including myself, during the pandemic. Norwich, the town in which Julian lived in seclusion, was deeply affected by the Plague in the mid-1300s. Revelations, which is credited as the first book written by a woman in the English language, tells of visions she had of Christ while deathly ill. Yet, in the face of isolation, sickness, and death, Julian writes of the revelation of God by using this phrase: “all shall be well.” Even in the midst of pain, suffering, and loss, God’s presence was revealed to Julian, and we can have hope in the fact that God’s presence will be revealed to us in pain and suffering, too.
The last fourteen months have been filled with so much pain and suffering. We can’t deny it. Like Julian, we’ve collectively experienced isolation, sickness, and death. We have seen the brokenness of our world. But, even in the midst of this pain and suffering, hope is there. God’s love is there. God is there. We can say “all shall be well” because God reminds us that all shall be well.
I wonder: where has God’s presence been revealed to you during this season of pandemic? Where has it been revealed through the experiences of the young people in your life? In the midst of sickness, isolation, fighting for justice—where has a revelation of the Divine reminded you that all shall be well?
I constantly feel God’s presence through the young people with whom I work. Their resilience, their zeal for justice, and their desire to deeply love God and love other people inspires me and brings me hope. Especially in the last year, I have found that their conversations, their questions, and their prayers bring peace to my soul in a way that nothing else can. Regardless of how we gather—large group or small, outdoors or on Zoom—these moments remind me that all will be well.
Here’s one specific way I’ve experienced this recently. Last weekend I was gifted the opportunity to spend time outdoors with some of the youth in our congregation. I intentionally use here the phrase “gifted the opportunity,” because in the last year, there have been very few opportunities to gather in-person. But, for a few glorious hours, our youth group went hiking and kayaking. We walked through the woods, talked about the challenges of experiencing high school during a pandemic, and had physically-distanced snacks while taking in the beauty of the park’s large reservoir.
As I sat by the water, I once again thought of Julian’s prayer: “…all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” I deeply felt God’s presence in that moment, and I was reminded that all shall be well. Our young people were reminded that God was with us, and that God’s hope reigns in our world. Together, we were reminded that no matter what the future holds, no matter what pain or suffering we face, we are gifted with the beauty of Divine revelation. And again, we remember: all shall be well.
Where has God’s presence been revealed to you during this season of pandemic?
Where has it been revealed through the experiences of the young people in your life?
In the midst of sickness, isolation, fighting for justice—where has a revelation of the Divine reminded you that all shall be well?