All manner of things shall be well…

I have been working on a song today. I used to write songs a lot, but stopped (unsurprisingly) when I no longer sang as much.

It forced me to return to rhyme, which I am usually glad to put aside when I write poetry.

I was thinking about those words of Julian of Norwich– All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. The theology behind these simple words is highly complex. Despite living in a time of the the Black Death, which religious people saw as the just punishment of a wrathful God because of the sin of the people, she chose to believe in love and hope. Interestingly, in our times when the theological debate around Atonement is causing such conflict, Julian had some very non standard views about sin and the punishment of God. This from the Wikipedia entry;

Julian believed that sin was necessary in life because it brings one to self-knowledge, which leads to acceptance of the role of God in one’s life. Julian taught that humans sin because they are ignorant or naive, not because they are evil, which was the reason commonly given by the church for sin during the Middle Ages.Julian believed that in order to learn, we must fail. Also, in order to fail, we must sin. The pain caused by sin is an earthly reminder of the pain of the passion of Christ. Therefore, as people suffer as Christ did, they will become closer to Him by their experiences.

Similarly, Julian saw no wrath in God. She believed wrath existed only in humans but that God forgives us for this. She writes, “For I saw no wrath except on man’s side, and He forgives that in us, for wrath is nothing else but a perversity and an opposition to peace and to love”. Julian believed that it was inaccurate to speak of God’s granting forgiveness for sins because forgiving would mean that committing the sin was wrong. Julian preached that sin should be seen as a part of the learning process of life, not malice that needed forgiveness. Julian writes that God sees us as perfect and waits for the day when humans’ souls mature so that evil and sin will no longer hinder one’s life.

Here are the words so far, still listening for their tune;

In the morning when I rise
In the evening when I die
You are there

In the cloister or the gutter
In the music and the song
In the heart that breaks wide open
In the right and in the wrong
In the tear that no one noticed
In the flow of every stream
In the leaf slowly unfurling
In things seen and yet unseen

In the mist of mellow fruitfulness
Or a stinking torture state
In the stab of empty promises
And twisting with our fate
In the road as yet untraveled
In the barrel of a gun
In the plan that comes unravelled
Or the journey just begun

In the cracks of what we concrete
In the atom and the bomb
In the hope of each spring morning
In a moment too soon gone
In the Bible and the bar room
In famine and the feast
In the spaces we make for him
And where we expect him least

I am learning trust in you
For all manner of things
Shall be well
All manner of things
Shall be well