Thoughts for the week

15. A poem, “Shorthand” from Rosemary Wells book reviewed by Michael Wright in this week’s Friend.

“God” is a kind of shorthand
for an inner reality of love
to which we all belong
by virtue of our humanity…
worship is the acknowledgement of this love –
particular and universal service is our response.

Suggested by Chris Yates

14. A Quotation

“Right is right even if everyone is against it and wrong is wrong even if everyone is for it”

Attributed to William Penn and St Augustine, among others. There are many variations on the theme  –  https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/right-and-wrong.

13. Advices and Queries 35

“Respect the laws of the state but let your first loyalty be to God’s purposes. If you feel impelled by strong conviction to break the law, search your conscience deeply. Ask your meeting for the prayerful support which will give you strength as a right way becomes clear.”

12. Mother Julian of Norwich, about 1393

“He did not say, ‘You shall not be tempest-tossed, you shall not be work weary, you shall not be discomforted’; but he said, ‘You shall not be overcome’.”

Chris Yates recalls Enid White quoting the above in MfW many years ago and feels it is appropriate for these times.

11. The Friends’ Journal May, 1967

“My own experience has led me to believe that faith grows – sometimes as naturally as a seed growing in the garden, sometimes as a result of much diligent study … Faith may be nurtured by fellowship with others who believe or are seeking to believe, and by prayer, however faltering. That is why I treasure so much my membership in the Society of Friends and the wonder of the Meeting for Worship.”

Barbara Bowman closed her article on Faith and Belief in vol 12, no. 4  of The Friends’ Journal May, 1967 with these words.

10. Quaker Faith and Practice 10.02

“We know the power of God’s Spirit at work in the lives of people within the community of our meetings. These people may have been drawn into the community by a sudden convincement, a long period of seeking, or have grown up within it from childhood. We also know that we are engaged in a life-long growth into faith, and experience a continuing irruption of grace into our lives which demands and sustains a commitment to a life of discipleship. We recognise this power at work in people of all ages, races and creeds: a transforming power which can issue in lives of joy, humility and service.”

London Yearly Meeting, 1986

Suggested by Marian McNichol

9. Advices and Queries 27

“Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak. When decisions have to be made, are you ready to join with others in seeking clearness, asking for God’s guidance and offering counsel to one another?”

Suggested by Julia Hargreaves

8. Imagine.

“Imagine all the people living life in peace,
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
An the world will be as one”.

John Lennon 1971

7. Two related thoughts:

“We rise by lifting others”

“Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

The short quote was spotted by Michael Yates on one of the decorated stones which have been appearing all over Settle and Giggleswick. The  longer quote is Advices and Queries 17.

6. The short quote was spotted by Michael Yates on one of the decorated stones which have been appearing all over Settle and Giggleswick. The  longer quote is Advices and Queries 17.

“We rise by lifting others”

suggested by Michael Yates

“Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

suggested by Julia Hargreaves

5. QUAKER FAITH & PRACTICE 2.48

Heed not distressing thoughts when they rise ever so strongly in thee; fear them not, but be still awhile, not believing in the power which thou feelest they have over thee, and it will fall of a sudden. It is good for thy spirit and greatly to thy advantage to be much and variously exercised by the Lord. Thou dost not know what the Lord hath already done and what he is yet doing for thee therein.
Isaac Penington
Suggested by Jamie Campbell

4.Philippians 4:8

“Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence , if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things… and the God of peace will be with you.”

Suggested by Chris Yates

3.  Singing the African Sanctus in Yorkshire

by Jean Harrison 

A gentle lift of the conductor’s hands
brings us to our feet – no longer strangers
who flocked in from all over,
climbed to this high room, milled round,
flapped off raincoats, settled down –
but, suddenly, a choir.
Eight spaced drumbeats – then
he releases us to ride our breath
up and down the wide sky of three octaves.
Plainsong explodes, ‘Sanctus, sanctus.’
everything’s holy: Egyptian wedding flutes,
Acholi cows, a milking song,
Sufis chanting in the Massa mountains,
the long, undulating flight of the call to prayer.
Hosannas thunder –
the basses off on their own –
while the rest of us just about hold on
among rattles, drums, ululating voices
and everything rises into the rafters
like rooks circling at dusk, layers of birds
folding and unfolding over trees and fields,
the council houses, the Creamery,
while a few break from the mass,
wheel off towards the hills,
are gathered back.

[ Jean Harrison was a colleague, friend and latterly companion to Barbara Bowman, and for many years was associated with our Meeting. Jean  died peacefully at home on Sunday evening 5 April following a long illness.]

2. Quaker Faith and Practice 24.60 (partial)

“What matters is living our lives in the power of love and not worrying too much about the results. In doing this the means become part of the end. Hence we lose the sense of helplessness and futility in the face of the world’s crushing problems. We also lose the cravings for success focussing on the goal to the exclusion of the way of getting there”

Wolf Mendel 1974

1. Quaker Faith and Practice 29.03

“We seem to be at a turning point in human history. We can choose life or watch the planet become uninhabitable for our species. Somehow, I believe that we will pass through this dark night of our planetary soul to a new period of harmony with the God that is to be found within each of us, and that S\he will inspire renewed confidence in people everywhere, empowering us all to co-operate to use our skills, our wisdom, our creativity, our love, our faith – even our doubts and fears – to make peace with the planet. Strengthened by this fragile faith, empowered by the Spirit within, I dare to hope.” Pat Saunders 1987.