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Viewpoint from Rev Brian Hall 10/05/2019

Brian HallRev Brian Hall
Vicar and Parochial Church Council, St Andrew’s Parish Church, Gorleston


as published in the Yarmouth Mercury
 

Rejoice in the Lord always

 
She was the first woman to have a book published. She remains one of the most creative theologians, spiritual writers, and mystics in the Christian tradition. She was remembered (by those in the Anglican Church) a few days ago on 8th May. You may have already figured out that I’m referring to Julian of Norwich
 
dove leftJulian lived in Norwich in the 14th and early 15th century, and spent much of her life living by herself in a small room, called an anchorhold, attached to the parish church of St Julian at Conisford. As she lay ill, on what was thought at the time to be her deathbed, Lady Julian of Norwich received 16 visions. They concerned the sufferings of Christ and his love for us. The year was 1373
 
Two versions of her book, Revelations of Divine Love, are based upon those visions. They are widely acknowledged to be among the great Christian classics on the spiritual life. Revelations of Divine Love reveals an intelligent, sensitive and very down-to-earth woman who maintained her trust in God's goodness whilst addressing doubt, fear and deep theological questions
 
It’s been said that Lady Julian is more quoted than read. I have to confess to not having read her writings but I did come across this short quote: “Suddenly the Trinity filled my heart with joy. And I understood that so it shall be in heaven without end”
 
Dove rightJulian believed that God created us out of joy, so that we would enjoy Him and share in the joy which is the Trinity. She also held the view that God rejoices in us and has worked from eternity to complete us and to bring us into Himself. Our response, according to Julian, is that we are to be “praising him, thanking him, loving him, and endlessly blessing him”
 
Rejoicing should a distinguishing mark of the Christian life and the highest expression of one’s trust in God, particularly in the face of sorrow, difficulties, or hardship. The concept of joy and rejoicing has its roots in the Old Testament. Psalm 5:11 instructs those who take refuge in God to “rejoice” and to “ever sing for joy”. Nehemiah 8:10 states that, “… the joy of the Lord is your strength”. Picking up on this scriptural concept the apostle Paul issues the command to believers at Philippi, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4)

If there is a Christian who lacks joy, if there is a church that isn’t permeated with an atmosphere of joy, then neither is taking seriously the command to rejoice

 

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Feedback:
Derek Mill 11/05/2019 06:49
Thanks for this Brian. I knew the name but nothing else! Download pdf is available and well worth a read!