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Quotations

A Prayer from Dorothy White

“You are the branches of the true Vine, you Spouses of the Beloved, you Daughters of [Zion] and Sons of Jacob…let the tribulated [rejoice] and sing, let the poor in spirit be glad; let them that dwell in the Valleys [rejoice], who drink of the Springs of the Fountain of Love; where Peace and Joy encreaseth, whether Love to the Brethren is multiplied…For our God is Love, and we must be made like unto him in all things. O little Love, overcome, overcome all your hearts, that Life may fill your vessels, that bowles of compassion and tenderness may flow one into another, that every Soul may swim in the fulness of Love, that all may be filled with the eternal Power, that the new Wine of the Kingdom may be poured from vessel to vessel, that all your Cups may over-flow with the Conslation of God.”

-Dorothy White (A Trumpet of the Lord of Hosts Blown Unto the City of London, 1662)

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Blog Entries

Lord, Lord, Open Unto Me: Howard Thurman (Prayer)

I was recently given a prayer book from a friend in our meeting called Prayers from the Heart by Richard Foster. ((Books in this post use an affiliate code to a local, independent bookstore close to where I live in Portland.)) It’s a lovely collection of prayers, and the other day I came across this prayer by Howard Thurman. Thurman was among many things an influential Baptist minister, theologian,  and civil rights activist, who worked for non-violence and started a multicultural church in 1944 (he is also well-known to Quakers for having studied philosophy with Quaker Rufus Jones at Haverford College). Thurman has written more than 20 books, one of his most famous being Jesus and the Disinherited. He is well-worth reading if you’re interested in reading books by people who have lived lives well (find out more here). Here is one of his prayers.

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Quaker Quotations

Morning Prayer by Henry T. Hodgkin

I ran across this prayer from Quaker Henry T. Hodgkin (1877-1933) in the most recent Friends Journal issue on Pendle Hill:

Firm when all round me is in flux and seething

Strong when the knees are quivering and fail,

Beat of my heart’s beat, energy of breathing,

Over my frailty wilt Thou prevail–

In the secret places of the spirit,

In the silent spaces of the morning

I come to thee.

 

Giver of joy beyond my best conceiving

E’en to the stricken on his lonley trail,

In Thee I find the glory of achieving,

Resting on Thee I do not fear to fail–

In the secret places of the spirit,

In the silent spaces of the morning

I come to thee.

 

Friends who wast by me on my first arising

Nor wilt forsake me when the light is spent

Unto the child-like ever more surprising

Filling the restless with a deep content

In the secret places of the spirit,

In the silent spaces of the morning

I come to thee.

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Quaker Quotations

Prayers: Elizabeth Woolman

I’ve recently re-read John Woolman’s Journal and have found it to be very challenging and nurturing once again. If you haven’t read it yet I can’t recommend it enough (here is a free ebook version. It is also available via independent bookstores like Powells (see below) and Quaker Books). But one of my favorite parts of the Journal is actually the part where he writes out some of the prayers his sister had written in her Journal. While Elizabeth Woolman is not as well-known as her brother John, she clearly had a very deep sense of connection with God as well. Here are some of her prayers:

Oh! that my head were as waters and mine eyes as a fountain of tears that I might weep day and night until acquainted with my God.

O Lord that I may enjoy thy presence, or else my time is lost and my life a snare to the soul.

O Lord that I may receive bread from thy table and that thy grace may abound in me.

O Lord that I may be acquainted with they presence, that I may be seasoned with thy salt, that they grace may abound in me.

 

The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman – affiliate Link.

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Featured

Some (Borrowed) Quaker Queries on Simplicity

Awhile back I visited a nearby Quaker meeting with Robin and Chris while they were in town. It was my first experience in an unprogrammed meeting and I really appreciated my experience there and it got me thinking more about queries. One thing I have always loved about Quaker practice are the use of queries, which I’ve written about plenty before.

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Featured

Liturgical Prayer Based on the Lord’s Prayer

As I near the end of my series on the Lord’s Prayer I want to turn now to a small liturgy I’ve written that is based off the Lord’s Prayer and the conclusions I’ve arrived at through this series. This liturgy was made to help conceptualize in a communal setting ways in which, we the church can embody the practices and “politics of Jesus.” We have said this in our small group as part of our prayer together, it is meant to fit your context, so if you do decide to download it and use it feel free to adjust any of the parts that don’t fit your context.

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Featured

The Paternoster – A Formative Christian Practice for All Followers

I’d like to frame the next group of “featured” posts that will be showing up here on gathering in light. I will be continuing to post my thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer, and how it can and should be used as a missional discipleship tool in churches from Anabaptist and Quaker, to emerging and missional, to Orthodox and Catholic (and everyone in between) churches. The main points of thinking that will be presented here is: how the Lord’s Prayer ought to be something practiced by all Christians on an ongoing basis, comparisons between the Qaddish, an early Jewish Prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer, as well as thoughts on each of the petitions and how they should inform the church’s overall missional engagement with the surrounding culture. I am posting these thoughts in about 800 words, in hopes to spread out the conversation and encourage dialogue.

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Featured

Silence II

So I have to consider that I am at times hard on myself, while at other times way too easy. But in either case my last post about silence might have been a bit modernistic. It was as though to say that reading, listening to music, and participating in other daily routines are not in themselves spiritual possibilities, even sacraments – depending on what they are and why they are done.

And so I found a picture of winter and silence. I read a book. I listened to Dylan. I rode my Bike. I typed a blog. I sipped a cup of tea. I sat quickly and thought about the world at Christmas time. I spent some time with friends.

It really easy to find God in “that thing over there!” It is as though I say to myself “That one thing I cannot do and so I am excused from the kind of life that requires obedience, don’t you know. So Leave me alone with these expectations.”

Avoidance can be a really good excuse when it comes to spirituality. And so can the “lack of time” that so many of us seem to experience. But then after thinking about this more we have to come to grips with the reality that life only seems to perpetuate this lack of space for God. If this is so we have to main goals for a life of the Spirit.1. We need to make space for those activities that only can be done within the community of faith, or can only be done with God in the stillness of a quiet room. 

2. We also need to get creative and figure out how we can make those everyday things – things that are meaningful. How we can make art out of something mundane – art not just for art’s sake (though this is meaningful also) but for the sake of finding the creator through doing activties of participatory worship, sacrmental living, etc. Thus we have the “church of art” below.
Flickr Photo

The church has for a long time lacked creativity, I must say that Quakers have even further to go before they catch up with the already-far-behind Protestants. To attack one’s own spiritual life because it doesn’t fit into certain molds of piety is not the way to go about finding in roads to God.

Rather we need to be schooled again in creativity – we need to find God in the novels, the movies, indie and folk music (all other types are must be void), the riding to and fro, the listening, and the silence.

There is a balance of both. We have gone too far to the one side. It is either “do it this way or don’t do it at all.” This is no longer a fight to be battled in the postmodern world, which blends all worlds together, in hopes of finding something meaningful in the process. The journey becomes important, the doing, not so much the goal. The “purpose”is only second to the “life” that is apparent. Life, love, discoveries, courage, creativity, and longsuffering become important virtues for today’s humanity.

And so this is where we are at, the middle of two crossroads searching for a discovery of God.

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