Twice recently I’ve come across an interesting story about Julian of Norwich, a Christian mystic born around 1342. Julian tells the story herself in the following words. “God showed me in my palm a little thing round as a ball about the size of a hazelnut. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and asked myself: ‘What is this thing?’ And I was answered: ‘It is everything that is created.’ I wondered how it could survive since it seemed so little it could suddenly disintegrate into nothing. The answer came: ‘It endures and ever will endure, because God loves it.’ And so everything has being because of God’s love.”
Part of me would love to know what the little round thing was that Julian found in her hand that day but in the end that’s not important. What is important is what God revealed to Julian of Norwich. I cannot speak with authority on the meaning of what God said to her but it appears to me that He was making it clear that every single thing He has made is important and that the basis of everything He has made is love.
You and I exist because of God’s love. The trees of the forests and the birds in the air exist because of God’s love. Likewise, rocks, flowers, streams, hills, and all creatures great and small owe their existence to the love of God. There is no part of Creation that cannot trace its origins to the same source.
None of this should surprise us when we recall the Bible says “God is love.” (First John 4:16) Since love is God’s essence or nature it only makes sense that love is the force behind everything He does. John 3:16 declares, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Just as love was the basis for God sending Christ into the world, love was the basis for the creation of that same world. It truly is all about love!
Knowing that I was created and exist because of God’s love brings me comfort, purpose and meaning. It should you as well. We must, however, take it a step further. Knowing that everyone else and everything else also have as their basis for existence God’s love, this forces us to look at them differently. It challenges us to look for and find God’s love in them. Are you up to that challenge? Am I? I hope so because there seems to be a whole lot riding on the outcome. The world itself will continue to exist as long as God desires for it to, but what kind of world it will be shall be determined largely by how we look at people and things, and by what we do. By loving all that God loves it truly can be a better place! It doesn’t take a mystic to see that.
(I took the top picture at Redwood National Park; the middle one at Acadia National Park; and the bottom one at Olympic National Park.)