Sarum Pause for Reflection: In This Life and Beyond

Reflection

“It’s only just sinking in that I haven’t been inside a church since March,” remarked the chap next to me in the pew – on the occasion of attending a service in person.

The stained glass, though artistically not particularly distinguished, was what ‘did it’ for him: “totally eclipses the social-distancing signs.”  Then he grinned: “God is not going to let a virus outshine Him!”

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Julian would, I think, agree.  She would certainly sympathise with his view that this was “real Church!” ie an event which at least some people can physically participate in.  It was an interesting remark as I know that in his own church he is one of those who make on-line worship happen – and happen really rather well. 

We are body as well as mind/spirit; and we are social creatures.  Julian’s anchorhold did not cut her off from social contact.  On the contrary, it made her more able to meet 1:1 with all sorts of people.

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I consider that what we suffer now doesn’t bear comparison with the glory to come. 
Romans 8:18

When I was sick, I really did think I was about to die; I was sad because I was young.  Even so, it seemed to me that this brief life was trivial compared with Endless Bliss.
(Julian of Norwich, ‘A Revelation of Love’ Chapter 3)

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Prayer

Thank you, God,
that we are fearfully
and wonderfully made,
each of us,
individually and collectively.

Thank you that You have an eternal purpose for each of us,
individually and collectively,

Amen

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Action

Action

Many of us will need to be quite gentle easing ourselves back into off-line social contact and travel.  There is such a thing as sensory overload; also the having to think through what is socially responsible and what is good for each of us in our own individual circumstances. 

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.


One Response to Sarum Pause for Reflection: In This Life and Beyond

  1. Jacky Hughes says:

    Jennifer thank you so much for this lovely reflection which touches me at many levels. We studied Psalm 139 is my small church group on Wednesday and I did a Sarum essay on mystics including Julian of Norwich last autumn.about exactly what you are offering here, contemplation then action. I love the reference to stained glass too as I’ve made some small pieces. God will indeed not let the stained glass out shine Him! Your reflection is even more poignant because dozens of us are praying for a dear and much loved friend, a woman priest, who is undergoing major heart surgery as I write this. Should she not survive and there are many complicating factors, being reminded of Julian’s words about this life compared with eternal bliss are very comforting.

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