If the goal of my spiritual life is transformation, spiritual attainment, or personal improvement, then any path I walk leads back to me — that is, nowhere. … Openness to sobering, even painful revelation is at the heart of silent Quaker worship: the turning of bare attention, without denial or rationalization, to whatever appears as I am searched by the light that was in Jesus. … By dispelling the delusion of self as center, the Christ-light eases my need for self-validation and spiritual success.
Abiding in worship’s deep silence, our moral certainties suspended in trusting openness to the spirit that was in Jesus, we experience judgment in truth here and now.
Part 4, “Meeting for Worship,” of Section II (“The Life of the Spirit”) of Quaker Faith & Practice for the 21st Century.
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.
“And the Word was made flesh and made his dwelling place in 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.