'And he 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 marvelled 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 for ever, because God loves it'. In short, everything owes its existence to the love of God.'
'In this little thing I saw three properties. The first that God made it. The second that God loves it. The third that God keeps it.'
Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, (Penguin ed. p. 68).
Long before eco-theology, environmentalism, carbon prints and climate change, this contemplative theologian understood the heart of God and the nature of created reality. Few have grasped more firmly the need to think hopefully, believe defiantly and live trustfully. Others need to do the hard theological thinking about the future of our planet in the aftermath of modernity's abuse of the only place we have to live - but we need Julian and her like to remind us of power and purpose that is not defeated by the worst case scenarios of our sinfulness. In other words we need an eschatology that takes its goal from the nature of God in Christ rather than from scientific and secular visions which preclude the central reality of the Gospel - a world reconciled, redeemed and part of a creation in which all things are held together in Christ.