Primitive Quakerism … was hyperfocused on the power for/of living righteously. To bring that vision into the 21st century requires no elaboration but, on the contrary, invites further simplification.
Does Quaker spirituality subsist in our climbing a path to peak experience? Are we essentially seekers, our living the divine life deferred as we seek the summit? George Fox would answer those questions with an emphatic “No!”
We may initially come to religion in flight from pain, but the image of Christ in the “doubting Thomas” story warns us that to flee from love’s wounds is to flee from “the way, the truth, and the life.”
That we may allow the pull of love to separate us from the patterns which a systemically unjust world has imposed upon our thinking and feeling, patterns that have defined who we are and how we live; that we may empty ourselves of that mind and submit to being, as it were, re-created ex nihilo in the image of God-who-is-love, so that we now “have the mind of Christ” and incarnate love in this world: this is Quaker worship.
Quakerism is a religion of the New Covenant, which means that it is religion of the heart — the broken heart. We enter the New Covenant when our heart is changed.
In this post, I examine the content and the meaning, for him and for us, of George Fox’s famous “There is one, even Christ Jesus” experience.
“And the Word was made flesh and made his dwelling place in us.”
It may seem that we are fools, that the raising of Christ in us is delusion, the hope of peace an empty dream. But we know firsthand that human life and death are given meaning and power, redeemed from the merely animal, in their consecration to love. And we know the power of love to create peace within and among us.
Sometimes, allowing the text to subside into silence, we hear the weak cry of Christ’s Lazarus who lies bleeding at our gate, and our hearts begin to crack, to break open.
I thought back to days when … I had experienced myself as a lone eagle, propelling myself upward, toward the light, on powerful wings. But time has a way of dispelling delusion. I am much older now: winging heavenward, even with help, is beyond me; on mere feet I falter.