Thursday, July 24, 2014

All manner of things shall not be well

One of the naffest things said amongst Christians - even by myself from time to time - is Julian of Norwich's "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well".

When we continue to read of the situation in Mosul for Christians and possible implications for rising Islamism in the world, for instance in this and this First Things articles, can we say "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well?"

Christianity's success in bearing brave witness has been where Christians have not been expelled or exterminated. The bravery of Christian witness in North Africa, for instance, got the church nowhere as Islam's sweep across that region in its first centuries swept Christians before it with the sword. To this day the church has only a little toehold, certainly not a foothold in North Africa (Egypt excepted).

Yet the chilling thing about ISIS' caliphate is not only that it is putting Christians to the sword but also any who oppose it's advance. So this morning I read in our Press of three Sunni clerics in Mosul killed by the footsoldiers of ISIS. Their crime was to oppose the advance of ISIS' peculiar Sunni-ism.

On a brighter note I have just had a most enjoyable few days at St John's College, Auckland. My primary reason for being there was to do some teaching on the Book of Revelation for a B.Theol. course but a stay either side of the classroom hours provided excellent opportunities to meet with Christchurch students and College staff. All manner of things are well at the College!


mike greenslade said...

Like many quotes taken out of context, it can be naff. Same with verse quoting sound bites and bumper sticker theology.

When Julian said it, there was nothing naff about it.

Bryden Black said...

Peter; if I may use this line of Julian’s as TS Eliot does:

And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

His echoes are many: both Julian and Dante are to the fore, and through them the Triune God’s manner of Atonement through the Crucified Messiah of Israel, Jesus. Only in this way however shall we see Divine Comedy; the alternative is ever only Tragedy. While many Eastern Christians ‘get’ the present crisis, few in the West have a clue; our secular politicians in particular are as deaf and blind as Israel of old. And the consequences of that will be fraught - for all of us (with apologies to Jeremiah, who most certainly gets it - totally ...).

Father Ron Smith said...

I think Mother Julian - being a mystical visionary of the very first order, was looking into the eschaton when this understanding of the fullness of God's kingdom was revealed to her. It needs to be noted that this sentence is in the future tense, and is certainly not, to quote a phrase, that of a naif. Fie on you Peter!

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than this world dreams on" - William Shakespeare knew a thing or to when he put this speech into the mouth of one of his heroes. But then, he did live in an age of faith.

That's the problem with most of us, we are so overburdened by the problems of the present, we have lost our vision of our future in God. Jesus, mercy, Mary, pray!

Father Ron Smith said...

I've just had the privilege of seeing a video interview with the 'Vicar of Baghdad' - Canon Andrew White. Now this a a man of real faith. He deals with the local Muslim population without prejudice. They see the love in him and want more of it. Now this is the Gospel. It's not about doctrine. It IS about the indiscriminate LOVE OF GOD - in action, not just words!