Isaiah, again.

In times of darkness I return again and again to Isaiah:
Comfort, O comfort my people
speak gently to Jerusalem and cry to her
that she has served her term
that her penance is paid,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
double for all her sins.
Although today is dark and I am not where I want to be, I can take comfort that I am not where I once was and that He is with me. Even more, I can take comfort in knowing that I am where he wants me to be. Healing comes slowly, a gradual baptism by fire.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
True sanctification comes slowly, from the Lord's hand, in the Lord's time. We cannot announce that we are ready and claim it for ourselves. We must continually open ourselves to the Holy Silence, again and again, especially when we feel heavy under the weight of our transgressions.

I will be speaking gently to myself this evening, pausing to remember as needed what the Lord's hand feels like on my forehead.
I will run and not grow weary, I will walk and not faint.

Elizabeth Bathurst


I really suck at online dating...

I've recently signed up for an online dating account and have mentioned Quakerism. This is bringing all sorts of people who were raised Quaker out of the woodwork and has lead to some interesting conversations...

I think that talking about early Quaker theology is incredibly practical. Far too many Friends have forgotten that the peace testimony is a practical application of a cohesive interpretation of Scripture. On one end of the spectrum, my First Day School kids don't know that Jesus appears towards the end of the Bible despite being in junior high. On the other end of the spectrum are Friends who still talk about Jesus all the time, but have almost completely abandoned Quaker theology over the years, primarily to water it down to attract more members. But then again, I actually believe in all that early silliness about Christ coming to teach his people himself. In my many years of doing things with non-conservative friends of both kinds, I find that the lack of theological understanding terminally weakens their understanding of Quaker practices. They have to compensate with enthusiasm, which can draw them ever further from the Source. Their silences are shallower on the whole. Theology is the core of our faith, of any faith really, and continuing revelation is not the same thing as making it up as we go along.
I suppose by "conversations" I mean rants, but whatever. I sent this in an email to someone, but decided that it needed to also be posted here. I imagine that I'll get a better conversation out of the blogging community then out of a stranger who is looking for a date.

Elizabeth Bathurst


How I'm praying today.

I've been thinking about James' post on prayer and I thought I'd share how I'm praying today. My grandmother is having surgery this morning to remove her gallbladder. It's not a particularly risky surgery, but she is an octogenarian and very dear to me so I'm still quite concerned. When I'm unable to distract myself with work, I've been praying stuff like this:
May Your will be done with as little pain and suffering as possible. Please watch over the hospital staff and my family today, especially my grandfather and mother as they care for my grandmother.
Your prayers are appreciated as well.