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Mother Julian’s suffering servant (Malcolm Guite)

Posted by: | Posted on: October 10, 2005

Last time we spoke about Julian, we did an overview of her life and talked about her most remarkable achievement – she was the first woman to write a book and have it circulated in her own lifetime. Her book was an astonishing advance in theology – a tremendous gospel of compassion, just when England and the church was being riven by dissention; she was a woman of extraordinary vision, praying to Christ that she might be made ill to participate in the sufferings of those around her that were dying of the plague.

This time we focus on Julian’s parable of the servant. The parable of the servant can be examined in (1) in its universal sense, as a clear revelation about the fall of humanity and its restoration; we will also look at it (2) in Julian’s own, historically context and finally (3) in the context of the sad divisions in the church today.

The parable describes a servant who stands before his Lord, who goes to do his will, who falls into the pit, who suffers, and to whom the Lord promises a restoration. In a sense it’s a retelling of the fall of Adam, but it focusses on sin as a form of woundedness that prevents us from seeing what is truly there and what should truly be…