I just re-read several old blog posts and was impressed. So, I am publishing something I wrote last July but never posted.
A good F/friend of mine asked me to join the Peace and Social Order committee in the area. The two big meetings in the area are combining forces and it seemed that it would be right to have me sit in as an attender of Old Town. It was interesting to be sitting in a room with people form both area meetings. We had a good discussion of what our purpose is and what we can try to accomplish. The query was, "with limited resources both financial and human, how much can we contribute to issues of social justice and peace."
I, of course, got chastised for bringing in my coffee. Apparently, there is a strict no liquids above ground rule. I had thought of this as I walked into the Meetinghouse, but decided a 9am meeting called for coffee. I know I should respect the cultural differences and mores within different Meetings. However, it is rules like this that visitors won't know. It is also one of those rules I am willing to break. We have liquids all over the Meetinghouse we meeting in, which, is considerable older. Other meetings I have attended do not have such a strict policy. How was I supposed to know? Perhaps, I should have erred on the side of polite discretion and not brought the coffee, but really, is that the worst offense that happens in most meetings--contra-band liquids in off-limits places? Not human ego? Not denying the use of Christ language for those that relate to the Spirit that way? Lack of understanding of Quaker process? Not petty disagreements? Not the passive aggressive way too many Quakers deal with just about everything? General unfriendliness? Resting on our laurels? The loss of younger Quakers and the indifference to it? Okay, BAD Quaker you dared to bring coffee to the Meetinghouse. Shame.
I know what I am about to write will sound very egotistical. However, God keeps whispering it to me. I need to prepare myself. One day, I will be a weighty Friend, an Elder. I will be that person with whom the Spirit of God fills; one who is clothed in Christ. I am far from that now. I am in the temptation and wresting with my day of visitation stage. Yet, things are revealed to me. I believe that I have had my baptism by fire and am completing my inward birth--to be born-again in Christ. It is through his grace that yields my faith, brings humility before the Lord and creation and brings about a reconciliation between me and God, that I may live by faith in his grace.
I am more and more convinced that in our age of individuality we are forgetting the importance of corporal worship. Worship as a corporate living faith, a communion with the Spirit and will those present in the living body of Christ. I know that this may sound incongruent with what I started writing about, however, it is how we live our lives. Until, we can forgive the small and look beyond certain things we cannot heal ourselves or our Quaker communities. If I was where I had been two years ago, the chastising by a Friend about coffee at the Meetinghouse would have made me leave and not seek out Friends for another several months/years. As things stand now, I do go to Meeting on a regular basis. I feel that despite this small transgression it doesn't make me less of a Friend or less welcome in the larger community of Quakers. I know I should respect the culture of a Meeting, but at the same time, it is important to remember the small transgressions can be forgiven…