Twelve Hymns Project: When peace like a river
Text: Job 29:1-5; 30:16-20
In May of 1373 Julian of Norwich was deathly ill. Close enough to death that she was given last rites. No one knows what Julian’s birth name was. She was an anchoress, meaning she had anchored herself, stationed herself, within a small church cell, itself attached to the larger building, like a barnacle on a rock, or a ship. This was common in the late Middle Ages. She had chosen a solitary life of prayer and contemplation, committed to staying in that particular place. It was a tiny world spent mostly inside the anchorhold, food and water handed in through a window. But it held a promise of opening one’s mind and soul to the vast expanse of Divine reality. This is the life Julian had chosen, or the life that had chosen her.
Her cell was attached to the Church of St. Julian, which is where she likely got her name. The church was in Norwich, England. Julian of Norwich.
Along with her physical ailments, Julian had been overwhelmed to despair by sin. It consumed her thoughts. She felt so deeply about this, she wrote...