“Our Lord showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, on the palm of my hand, round like a ball. I looked at it thoughtfully and wondered, ‘What is this?’ And the answer came, ‘It is all that is made.’ I marveled that it continued to exist and did not suddenly disintegrate; it was so small. And again my mind supplied the answer, ‘It exists, both now and forever, because God loves it.’ In short, everything owes its existence to the love of God. In this ‘little thing,’ I saw three truths. The first is that God made it; the second is that God loves it; and the third is that God sustains it.” - Julian of Norwich, “Showings”
You may know that most days I leave the house before first light and go walking. The air is coolest then, and my mind is the least cluttered that it's likely to be all day. I pray then, walk, pray some more, and compose sermons in my head.
Once in a while, I get distracted, as I did this morning, by a tune repeating itself in my brain. I fight against it, yet the more I struggle, the louder it tends to become. I switch channels, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, I have all that I need, I want for nothing.” As I get to the end, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” the tune returns. An earworm, an evil thing. It played all night as I slept and pounced on me as soon as I left the house.
Then the Lord showed me a little thing, a snail the size of a walnut in the streetlamp’s glare. Its tiny antennae searched the air, curious, expectant. I thought to pick it up for a closer look, but it clung there to the ground, as if glued to the spotlight, the ringmaster to a universe too small for me to see.
I forgot the tune, forgot the walk, for just a moment, forgot the prayer. Squatting by the side of the road, there was only this fully awake creature and me. It occurred to me then that God now provided all the wisdom necessary to navigate the complicated day ahead. Whatever might come, I need only remember of any person, place, or thing, three things:
“God made it. God loves it. God sustains it.” Including snails. Including you. Including me. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Holy one, thank you for the universe in the palm of our hand, and for each of us in the palm of the universe. Amen.
God’s grace, mercy, and peace be with you,
The Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida