Sunday, March 9, 2014

Run For Your Life! (Chapel A Day 2014 Day 4)

"Run for your life!" the little boy called as he dashed toward the street and away from an angry, swarming mass of yellow jackets. Their underground nest had been stirred up by the little boy's father who was working in the lawn with an electric hedge trimmer. 

If you read this blog very often, you'll understand why this perfectly average--- but thankfully NOT every day event--- got me to thinkin.'

My grandmother had a saying. "Be careful! You're about to stir up a hornet's nest!" Usually, I heard her say that when her church-lady girlfriends were over eating pound cake and drinking coffee. But, I thought of my grandmother---and the somewhat dramatic little boy---on Day 4 of this Lenten journey. I was attending a spiritual seminar at Christ Episcopal Church in Pensacola. The speaker's topic was Julian of Norwich... considered by many to be one of the most important Christian mystics. On what seemed to be her deathbed in 1373, Julian said she had 16 visions of Jesus Christ. She recovered and wrote about those visions.

In some ways... Julian stirred up a hornet's nest.

Her visions resulted in views about suffering, Hell, grace, forgiveness, and God's mercy that were not necessarily in line with the "official" theology of the times. Seemingly unafraid of the backlash that might result...

She. Wrote. About. Them. 

And people still read about them more than 600 years later.

During a break in the seminar, I headed here..
to the little chapel attached to the church. I knelt at the altar and prayed. And, I wondered whether I feel strongly enough about something to risk talking, or writing, about it---even if it might stir up a hornet's nest? Do you?

Sometimes, we back away from standing up for our faith, principles, values, ethics or just plain ol' likes and dislikes because of fear. We fear people will make fun, or ostracize, or challenge, or think we are NUTS!

But, maybe, like Julian, we should consider trying to determine what's really important in life to us.. and how, by sharing that, we might make a positive difference in someone else's life. I do not believe that means you have license to force your views on others, or be theological or social bullies, or substitute fanaticism for forthrightness. But, having a belief and taking a stand for that belief are good things.

So, here's the rub. I don't agree with everything Julian of Norwich wrote. Some of her views are way different than mine. Some of the seminar speaker's interpretations of her views and visions are wayyyyyyyyyy different than mine. 

But, that's ok.

641 years after she had those visions, Julian of Norwich stirred up a hornet's nest in my heart and my mind and sent me on a search for deeper answers about the things I believe. She inspired me to be stronger in what I believe and smarter in the way I communicate those beliefs. 

The little boy who dashed into the street that day was running AWAY from the hornet's nest. Julian has inspired me to run TOWARD it. Who knows? I might just be...

Runnin' for my life.

1 comment:

  1. My current crises has challenged me to focus on my beliefs so that I can stand up for them. Thanks Drexel for this well written, challenging blog.
    Dan Nance