Parts 7 & 8, “The Meeting as Caring Community” and “The Use and Nurture of Gifts,” of Section II (“The Life of the Spirit”) of Quaker Faith & Practice for the 21st Century.
“I tell you truly, truly: if one is never born from water and spirit, one is not able to go into the kingdom of God.” How might Quakers understand that saying? The creation story in Genesis offers one possibility.
Quakers are a peculiar and priestly people in that, gathered into the body of Christ, we are members of the mythic cosmic king crowned with thorns, the royal high priest who sacrifices himself for the Kingdom of God. Our identity is constituted — founded and enacted — by our sharing in the self-sacrificing love of which Jesus the Christ is the archetypical icon.
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.
Is the confession that “Christ is come in the flesh” at the point of convergence for theistic and nontheistic Friends? As Bierce might ask, “Can such things be?” The phrase “Christ is come in the flesh” is from 1 John 4:1-4. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:…