The Gospel of John: John 16

Jesus wants His people to connect with him through the Spirit. The unfortunate thing is that we constantly need reminders of this fact. Jesus has now spend several chapters reminding the disciples that they must stay with Him and he will send a Helper to guide them after He is gone. This continues in today’s chapter. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 16”

The Gospel of John: John 15

Peace and comfort are gifts given to Christians through the Holy Spirit. They are meant to help us get through difficulty and struggle. This does not have to be a situation that is causing pain, maybe you simply doubt in Jesus’ saving power or even in the existence of God. Jesus continues to teach his disciples, but giving them a further plea to stay connected with him. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 15”

The Gospel of John: John 14

On the night Jesus was betrayed he took the role of a servant and washed the disciples feet. Knowing that he was above all creation, he took the role of a servant to serve those that were below him. Yet Jesus knows that there is still more the disciples will need in the time to come. Simply serving them is not enough. They need something else. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 14”

The Gospel of John: John 13

Last week we saw how we cannot make it on our own. We need someone to help guide us. But what if we do not understand them? What if they are so beyond our comprehension, we cannot see what is right in front of our faces? The disciples faced that, leading into the last days of Jesus’ life. What they expected was not what was done, and maybe that is the way it is supposed to be. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 13”

An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich

8737.jpgAn Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich is the second Explorer’s Guide release from InterVarsity Press (the first being for Karl Barth. It is written by Veronica Mary Rolf, who is a self claimed academic of Julian of Norwich for several decades. According to her biography at the end of the books, after a long career as a Broadway actress, she is now a lecturer on “history and theology of Christian mysticism and leads contemplative retreats throughout the San Francisco Bay area.” She is also affiliated with the [World Community for Christian Meditation](https://www.wccm.org), manages a Facebook group for Julian of Norwich, and writes on her own websites: www.juliansvoice.com and www.veronicamaryrolf.com.

“People of all ages and cultural backgrounds feel encouraged to look to Julian for guidance in their daily struggles, consult Julian’s Revelations with their questions and doubts, and seek guidance from Julian in their spiritual crises.”

Rolf chooses to separate her text into two parts. The first part is called Getting to Know Julian of Norwich. In this segment Rolf does the work of putting Julian into her context. Julian is from a world that we do not fully understand today. Julian lived from 1342 till 1430. Her world was before the Reformation, ravaged by plagues, and in a time where women could be no more than wives and mothers. So Rolf seeks to gives us a firm understanding of what this looks like, while also providing some peculiarities to the life and writing of Julian of Norwich.

“all Julian’s references are to common, ordinary things that a merchant-class working woman would be more likely to notice than an aristocratic noblewoman”

The second part of this book focuses solely on Julian of Norwich’s /The Revelations of Divine Love/, with chapter 6 being an overview of the entire text. In this chapter Rolf discusses each of Julian’s revelations and what she learned from them. Rolf also points to ways that Julian’s work is different from others of her time. The reason for this is that Julian was a member of the common laity, not an academic or a cloistered nun. She then finishes the book by discussing the major themes of the text and providing guidelines for how to lead a retreat with Julian’s Revelations.

“But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that I needed, answered by this word and said: ‘Sinne is behovely, but alle shalle be wele, and alle shalle be wele, and alle manner of thing shalle be wele.'”
— Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

The thing that I believe is evident from this book is the amount of knowledge Rolf has of Julian of Norwich’s /The Revelations of Divine Love/. To be a person that is not classically trained in this subject, and yet can still hold her own in writing with people who are, is a testament to her. The way she writes bout Julian makes her very approachable and alive, despite having died almost 600 years ago. Because of this knowledge, she is also able to provide a good understanding of Christian mysticism. This topic seems to be a practice that the Church wants to forget, as I had not heard of it until I started my academic career. Anytime I mention it to others, Christian mysticism is looked upon as something to be skeptical of. I find the mystics interesting and Rolf does a good job explaining Julian’s mystical theology. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about Christian mysticism or any professor seeking to teach spiritual formation.