Daily Reading for July 18
Many years ago, when our children were very little, one of the girls turned to me and asked, “Will it be all right?” I wasn’t sure what the “it” referred to, but her question held a kind of cosmic significance. “Will it be all right?” I said yes, with my fingers crossed behind my back. That desire and wonder—will everything be all right? Are you all right? Will it be all right? Truth has something to do with our wanting things to turn out right. One word for this “rightness” is God’s glory. The place of glory is where everything turns out right.
To come round where we ought to be is to be in a place just right: this is what it is to be righteous. Things will come out right when we discern that life is a gift from God. It is all gift. The truly moral life begins on the other side of our accepting God’s first gift to us of our own fragile selves. Life as a moral adventure begins on the other side of forgiveness. Only then does truth-telling become an adventure. We begin to see ourselves as actors in a love story. “Every single one of us has a good work to do in life,” writes Elizabeth O’Connor. “This good work not only accomplishes something needed in the world, but completes something in us. When it is finished, a new work emerges that will help make green a desert place as well as scale another mountain inside ourselves.”
O’Connor is telling us what it means to be righteous. No wonder that the Bible tells us that we have no righteousness of our own. We are in enough trouble as it is without adding inflammatory self-righteousness to the fires of human suffering. . . .
What a joy to come down in a place just right, in the valley of love and delight. There is a “rightness” to things and it is hard won. After much pain and a deep vision of the Crucified Christ, the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich could say, “And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Things do come round right.
From Living the Truth by Alan Jones (Cowley Publications, 2000).