April 2020 WATER and Women of Dignity Liturgy

Trust all Shall be Well with Julian of Norwich

By Diann L. Neu and Mary E. Hunt

Listen to the audio of the liturgy here.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”
—Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, 27.8–11.209

Preparation
Place in front of you a bell, bread, and drink. (Remember you can be seen on ZOOM, and will be asked to hold these symbols for all to see!)

Introduction

Call to Gather

“All shall be well,” we pray desperately during this COVID-19 pandemic. May 8 is the Feast of Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century English mystic and theologian who lived as an anchoress outside the walls of St. Julian’s Church in Norwich. She gives us inspiration today. “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well,” she writes in Revelations of Divine Love, 27.8–11.209.

Julian witnessed three rounds of the bubonic plague, lost almost everyone she loved, and nearly died herself. She lived in a time of peasant revolts and the Great Schism. She experienced scandal and crisis in the Church, with three claimants to the papacy each excommunicating the other. With injustice all around, Julian was given a glimpse of divine love assuring that “all manner of things shall be well.” Her writings describe her understanding of Divine compassion for the world.

Ring the bell.

Song: “Julian of Norwich,” Words & music: Sydney Carter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS756ZhJt5M
Loud are the bells of Norwich and the people come and go.
Here by the tower of Julian, I tell them what I know.

Chorus:
Ring out, bells of Norwich,
and let the winter come and go.
All shall be well again, I know.

Love, like the yellow daffodil, is coming through the snow.
Love, like the yellow daffodil, brings joy to all I know. Chorus.

Ring for the yellow daffodil, the flower in the snow.
Ring for the yellow daffodil, and tell them what I know.

Chorus:
Ring out, bells of Norwich,
and let the winter come and go. (video stops)
Together: All shall be well again, I know.

Ring the bell.

Prayer: “Prayer for a Pandemic” by Cameron Bellm from Seattle WA, 3.18.20

May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember the most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.

Ring the bell.

Reading: “Pandemic” by Lynn Ungar from Castro Valley, California, 3.11.20
https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/mary-schmich/ct-met-schmich-pandemic-poem-20200314-yywfy7th2nbc5cufvnbb7qhvfm-story.html

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Ring the bell.

Discussion
1. How do we know all shall be well again—because Julian tells us so? Our own faith? Are we sure?
2. What can we do to make all things well—for us, for our families, our communities, our Earth?

Ring the bell.

Prayers of the Faithful
Who needs our prayers today? Tell us and we will respond: Healing Wisdom, hear our prayer.

Blessing Bread and Drink
Hold and show us your bread and drink. Let us extend our hands and bless them.
Be the one who, when you walk in,
Blessing shifts to the one who needs it most.
Even if you’ve not been fed,
Be Bread.
— Rumi

Pause

O God,
to those who have hunger
give bread;
And to those who have bread
give the hunger for justice.
Amen.
— Latin American Prayer

Let us eat and drink together, remembering that we are bread for one another.

Ring the bell.

Sending Forth: “Prayer of Hope” by Diann Neu
Source of Life, you who bring forth daffodils,
Bells, bread, drink, and community
Renew us with Easter hope
As we journey through these COVID-19 months and years.

May our eyes notice the flowers peeking out of gardens.
May our ears hear the songs of the birds.
May our feet gently touch green grass.
May Earth be renewed as we rest our carbon foot print.
May waters be made clean so people in every country can wash their hands.
May air be purified so our lungs can breathe free of masks.
May we walk peacefully with Earth and next to one another soon.
May all be well again, we pray desperately.
Amen. Alleluia. Let It Be So.

Ring the bell.

Song: “Swimming to the Other Side” by Pat Humphries and Sandy O, Emma’s Revolution

Chorus: We are living ‘neath the great big dipper
We are washed by the very same rain
We are swimming in this stream together
Some in power and some in pain
We can worship this ground we walk on
Cherishing the beings that we live beside
Loving spirits will live forever
We’re all swimming to the other side

I am alone and I am searching,
hungering for answers in my time
I am balanced at the brink of wisdom
I’m impatient to receive a sign
I move forward with my senses open
Imperfection, it be my crime
In humility, I will listen
We’re all swimming to the other side. Chorus

On this journey through thoughts and feelings
Binding intuition, my head, my heart
I am gathering the tools together.
I’m preparing to do my part
All of those who have come before me
Band together and be my guide
Loving lessons that I will follow,
We’re all swimming to the other side. Chorus

When we get there we’ll discover
All of the gifts we’ve been given to share
Have been with us since life’s beginning
And we never noticed they were there
We can balance at the brink of wisdom
Never recognizing that we’ve arrived
Loving spirits will live together
We’re all swimming to the other side. Chorus

©2020 Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, dneu@hers.com