No-one tells bees to make a bee-line for a thistle. They just ‘know’ where to go.
With most volunteers barred (why?) from working in the countryside, there are plenty of thistles around this summer. A few thistles in a nature reserve are a good thing: to attract pollinators. But they can take over a site. Normally, by this stage of the season, working-parties would have been removing excess thistles before they can seed.
Julian, like many of her contemporaries, takes it for granted that we humans naturally gravitate towards God: our Maker, and the big, round, bountiful thistle-head of our lives. When we make mistakes, as we all do, it is generally not by opting for evil, but because we go for second-best (something other than God) rather than The Best.
God, my God, for You I long:
I thirst for You, I pine for You
like a dried-up weary land.
It is easier for us to come to know God than to know ourselves: our being is set so deep in God, ever in safe-keeping, that we cannot understand ourselves until we know God … Nevertheless, I saw that we have an instinct to be whole, and that teaches us to look in the right place: in God.
(Julian of Norwich, ‘A Revelation of Love’ Chapter 56)
Teach me, Master,
to look beyond the beautiful things you make in this world,
and set my sights on You,
the Source, the Way, the End.
Rhythmic exercise, such as push-ups against the furniture mentioned in a previous blog, can be a good time to pray by simply repeating the name of Jesus – or ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ or ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner’. You may find that during a session the prayer changes to fewer or more words, as the Spirit moves you.
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A reflection from Jennifer Brooker ObJN, who has been a frequent visitor of Sarum College. She has a degree in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford and master’s degree in theology awarded by Durham University.