All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
Posted on 19 July 2017, 13:20
Julian of Norwich wrote: “In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed because of it, without reason and discretion.
“But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’…….
Stephen the Martyr: There are many ways to ask but one question. I think we have all found a number of those ways. If I may be permitted, I shall answer that one question.
First, I shall answer the question: again in our way, we wish to know the nature of us, why we are here, and for what purpose.
All our beliefs of our religion are for this one purpose, to remind us of these things or to help us to recall them.
So let me attempt to answer in this way: first in the mind of the Father, we were conceived, and from that conception we were created in his image.
Do not be confused about the “image.” We know that what we ourselves would create, firstly has to be imaged. We know that in our minds, if we image these things, then they will in fact be created. Therefore we were imaged and all that we can see, feel and touch, were thus imaged. And all was created in that image. This may spoil some popular misconceptions, but this is so. The image that was created was the perfect image, the wonderful image of the whole tapestry of creation in the mind of the Father, (in whichever way we conceive him to be). Christ is that image.
To save us, we must first ask ourselves from what we must be saved?
Our salvation lies in our ability to receive and conceive the truth of our own perfection and of our own part and participation in what is the whole of the body of Christ.
We do not have to be saved and preserved from terrible and dire consequences that we may perceive, for all that is perfect is here, always has been and always shall be. All that we need saving from is the conception in our minds that we are separate from this perfection. We separate ourselves often by feeling that there is much that we must do to change ourselves, to be forgiven, to step away from sin, before we may be saved. Yet we are told in many diverse ways, that the path to salvation is the acceptance of Christ or the acceptance of the perfection of all that is.
For we must not forget that we were created in the image of the Father and therefore must be perfect. We, all of us, have often failed in grasping this perception, and for a more graphic illustration, through One who could accept this perfection perfectly, we were to recognise Christ.
There never was a time when our Lord Jesus was not the Christ; neither is there a time, when any of the imaged creation of the Father is not the Christ.
This we must understand: this is our salvation, our acceptance of what is. Once we accept the perfection of all that is then, as I have said before, there are no disasters; there are only disasters from the point of view of perfection.
The place of men’s thoughts in the future of things, whether we call it religion or not, is the acceptance of what is perfect and we need to continually remind ourselves that all is perfect, and all is well. There is no sin too great that would continually separate you from the Father if you would not have that sin separate you.
To help us, we have had a demonstration of forgiveness, a sacrifice that is easy for us to remember, that is easy in our minds to conceive of as an intermediary. The intermediary that turns our minds into our hearts so that we can see the truth.
Look well and you will.
Stephen: What we search for then must be the wider perception of the Source so that we might image.
Michael: I can understand that the Father images me and how therefore what I do may interlock with what happens with others. But I do not understand the distinction, if any, between what I image and what the Father images.
Stephen: In our minds we can but image to our own understanding and our knowledge of what is: therefore, it is often our own image that is restricted. To image correctly, we must first look and think and feel through the Source that has the wider perception. This is the whole point of our worship, our devotions, our studies, and our feeling with each other and for each other: for we often have in our hands and in our minds what we can perceive ourselves. What we search for then must be the wider perception of the Source so that we might image.
Some readers will want to quarrel with all this.
What? All is perfect? All manner of things are well? Really? We know a thing or two that might suggest otherwise! Stories of endless vile evil can be told.
Consider the words “What we search therefore must be in the wider perception of the Source”. Stephen is talking “sub specie aeternitatis” or from the point of view of Eternity.
At root we are participants in an indivisible spiritual whole, our deepest selves are eternal. What binds this whole is love. But it seems that we only learn the full nature of love when we are confronted with its absence. If we spent our lives in a five star hotel where nothing went wrong, we were never challenged, had no difficulties to solve, we would learn nothing of anything. Physical life is the perfect environment “where we are guided towards love through pain” as Stephen put it.
In physical life there is what Stephen calls “so-called good and evil+ where we learn what will or will not further love and expansion of consciousness. It is a crucible in which true love can be generated. It is an arena where a soul can make progress toward a deeper knowledge and wider a participation in universal Spirit. In this sense, “all is well, and all manner of things are well.”
This is not to deny the reality of spiritual blindness and lack of love in the physical world. We have to live our physical lives, experiencing what is right and wrong, the sin that separates us in our minds from the Source of all things, and learning the states of mind which allow sin to drop away.
All these questions are faced in that great poem the Book of Job. Although Job is of highest character, God allows the most devastating things to happen to him. But in the last chapter, after Job has contemplated the Mystery which is God, he has this to say:
2. “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
4. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’
5. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
6. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.
Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.
Michael on Skeptico.
For more on Stephen go to www.thegroundoffaith.net/issues/2017-02