During meeting for worship today, a message from a visiting minister stressed the importance of living, not simply believing, in “that life and power which takes away the occasion of all wars.” I later offered vocal ministry based on a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews, although I erroneously attributed the passage to Revelation. (Revelation also uses the image of the two-edged sword.) The following, with that correction made, approximates the content of that ministry.
A passage from the Letter to the Hebrews comes to me this morning. It begins with this: “The Word — the Logos — of God is living and working” — but, as early Friends, following the apostle John, would tell us, the Word or Logos is the Light Within, so we can render the passage as “The Light is living and working within. It is sharper than every [other] two-edged sword. It penetrates deeply, severing the psyche from the spirit, cleaving the spine to the marrow, and critiquing the feelings and thoughts of the heart.”*
That’s an experience we may prefer to avoid. But Friends have identified that experience as the first working of the Light within. We got the name “Quakers” because Friends quaked under the Light’s searching and judgment. I can’t say with certainty that everyone must undergo such an experience, but I know that some of us must: without it, some of us are unable to live in that life and power which takes away the occasion of all wars. In this our community, I hope that all will be mindful that some may be going through that experience and needing support.
* Hebrews 4:12, my rendering (as I remembered it at the time). It was with Revelation’s uses of the sword image in mind that I added the word “other,” which is enclosed in brackets above.
Note: The theme of this post is developed more fully in Quaker Convincement and Experiment With Light.