“Lord, let not our souls be busy inns that have no room for thee or thine,
But quiet homes of prayer and praise, where thou mayest find fit company,
Where the needful cares of life are wisely ordered and put away,
And wide, sweet spaces kept for thee; where holy thoughts pass up and down
And fervent longings watch and wait thy coming.”
― Julian of Norwich
8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; 2 the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3 and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters had abated; 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.
6 At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7 and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; 9 but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; 11 and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12 Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.
13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’ 18 So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families.
Just like Noah, we have been living through unprecedented times. We find him here at the end of the story, but of course, we are still part way through ours. We always are living in the midst of the story aren’t we. This week many Christians have been remembering again the live and work of Julian of Norwich. Despite her name (the name of her parish church), she wrote a book that we know for sure is the first in the English language written by a woman. This is amazing in itself for a woman born in 1342, but more wonderful is the hopeful and helpful ways in which she used her book to reflect on her experience of God’s love in the midst of her story.
What is your story today as you read this?
Who is missing from your story at the moment?
How is God coming into the story for you?
1 In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Incline your ear to me;
make haste to deliver me.
3 Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me,
for you are my rock and my stronghold;
guide me, and lead me for your name’s sake.
4 Take me out of the net
that they have laid secretly for me,
for you are my strength.
5 Into your hands I commend my spirit,
for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
15 ‘My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
and from those who persecute me.
16 ‘Make your face to shine upon your servant,
and save me for your mercy’s sake.’
The Psalmist is struggling here, isn’t he. I love how he is able to be utterly honest with God about what he is going through. Julian thought that God loves every kind of prayer we can bring, writing that it is as if God says to us, “For in dryness and in barrenness, in sickness and in feebleness, then is thy prayer well-pleasant to me, though thee thinketh it savour thee nought but little. And so is all thy believing prayer in my sight.”
What is helping me pray at the moment?
What is getting in the way of prayer in these days?
What would help me pray in the coming days?
14‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ 5Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ 6Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
8 Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ 9Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
Collects for this Week
who through your only–begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us
you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life:
grant us to walk in his way,
to rejoice in his truth,
and to share his risen life;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.
your wounds declare your love for the world
and the wonder of your risen life:
give us compassion and courage
to risk ourselves for those we serve,
to the glory of God the Father.
A prayer of Julian of Norwich
In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss. In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving. You are our mother, brother, and Saviour. In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvellous and plenteous grace. You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us. You are our maker, our lover, our keeper. Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.