Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quaker Wisdom for Today

Being orderly come together, [you are] not to spend time with needless, unnecessary and fruitless discourses; but to proceed in the wisdom of God, not in the way of the world, as a worldly assembly of men, by hot contests, by seeking to outspeak and over-reach one another in discourse as if it were controversy between party and party of men, or two sides violently striving for dominion, not deciding affairs by the greater vote. But in the wisdom, love and fellowship of God, in gravity, patience, meekness, in unity and concord, submitting one to another in lowliness of heart, and in the holy Spirit of truth and righteousness all things [are] to be carried on; by hearing, and determining every matter coming before you, in love, coolness, gentleness and dear unity; - I say, as one only party, all for the truth of Christ, and for the carrying on the work of the Lord, and assisting one another in whatsoever ability God hath given."

--Edward Burrough


Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

If I could wish for one blessing for the Quaker movement today, it might be for everyone in the Quaker world to experience, not just a gathered meeting, but a gathered meeting for business in which, despite real and strongly held differences not just in our opinions but in our individually discerned sense of God's will for us, we still manage to crucify self-will enough to center down into God's presence together.

It won't keep us from sliding into painful contention entirely, but it will give us all the sense of what we are striving toward. As a woman possessed of a powerful self-will and a strong conviction that of course God is speaking to me more clearly than to the next guy, I most certainly struggle with this.

But having been present when a body of Friends managed to find Unity against all expectation, and having felt both the sweetness and the "taste of the cross" that comes with it, I would not want to settle for anything less, ever.

May we learn how to listen for God's will for us together, not simply as an alternative to conflict in strife in our meetings, but because nothing is sweeter than the taste of that Presence when it comes.

Liz Opp said...

Thanks for the quote, Brent. Well said, Cat.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up