Today, the Episcopal Church remembers and celebrates the life and wisdom of Dame Julian of Norwich. She was a survivor of grave illness.With all faith she believed her restored health had called her to work as a servant of her Creator. Her life was dedicated to prayer and the ‘ministry of presence’ to those who were in need of solace and counsel. She is known for boldly speaking of God in the feminine and masculine. Her quote – shared by many -‘All Shall Be Well – makes her teachings most relevant to this time in history.
This day is also an anniversary. 19 years ago, I was ordained to the priesthood on this day. Surrounded by all who supported, encouraged and challenged me as I studied and discerned my call to work along side of our blessed Creator, I entered that day deeply grateful for Dame Julian’s example and courage.
My differences were obvious for those who only judge by what they see – what, a priest in a wheelchair?! Not to say it has been easy but I have always offered my work with honesty and inclusion. Out of necessity people have drawn together to assist me in the tasks delegated to a priest. Blessed with openness and encouraged to remind those gathered that the church welcomes all to share their skill, wonderful opportunities have been created. Sharing the Eucharist, involving the whole community in baptism, many walls have been removed.
My work has changed but continues to be shaped by a sense of urgency to comfort those who grieve, feed those who are hungry and ‘BE’ Jesus to all who seek hope and care.
Julian’s ministry inspires creativity and offers comfort. I am honored and thankful to share this day with a woman who continues to teach and encourage my work as a priest. Her wise yet quiet counsel has brought me through times tough and joyful.
19 years and so many stories. On this day, I celebrate Julian’s life.. Her patient sense of calm continues to lead me on this path.
I welcomed this day with much gratitude.