Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Good evening Friends, from a gorgeous late-summer evening on Western Australia's south coast. I'm not sure how to or whether this is the right way to post to QQ - I'm a newish member of QQ and a three-year old (and feel like that, often!) attender of a tiny/sometimes small rural Quaker meeting here.
So this is just going to be a quickie to start. I'm home after a few weeks' road trip that took me to the east coast of Australia and time at Silver Wattle, a Quaker residential/retreat/educational centre that has emerged from the strong leading(s) of several Australian Quakers. Time there was wonderful - those of you who live in/near/around strong Quaker community will likely know this in your hearts, but for those of us that don't it's a kind of mixed blessing. Strength and guidance and love and laughter and Quakerly rhythm and routine and daily MFW and intellectual stimulation etc etc...wonderful. And then....how, how to keep the faith? (That phrase popped out, but it fits.)
What I mean, of course, is how to find the strength to keep the faith on one's own. Find the time, I suppose. It's something to do with solidarity and community (lack of) that makes it so easy to...oh, just cruise back into reading, to chatting with (much-loved) non-Q friends, to the glass or two of wine, to TV, to living a more secular life. Regular Skype 'Quaker buddies' are a possibility that other isolated Friends use and I'd be interested to hear how/if that works for others. I'm presently sittign with the notion of talking with the relatively newly-arrived Anglican priest here - a woman, ordained in her 50s - about sharing 'serious' (by which I mean interrogative, analytical) Bible study - not something I've done yet but feel that I want to, could, should to broaden horizons....
Sorry, I said it would be a quickie. I'll stop now! Any comments welcome, very welcome.
For online meeting go to quakerworship.org
I have not been for a while, but have found the meetings to be more helpful than I imagined. As far as I know there are quakers both conservative and liberal there. I liked to imagine my fellow quakers gathered at the same moment, if not in the same place.
Take a look, for those of us with no physical meeting place it is a blessing.
Yes, I too go to this 'meeting room' most days, sometimes for MfW and sometimes anytime I feel moved to.
I'm not sure about its history or whether the majority of attenders are Liberal Qs or not - doesn't seem to matter - but I find there a sense of community and solidarity, knowing that these unknown online folk are in the same head/heartspace as me irrespective of time zones or geography. There's a daily meeting (loosely) scheduled at 10oo GMT and often someone in the meeting room outside those hours.
Would be good to hear your thoughts if you try this too, Denny.
Thank you, Judi.
The weekly meeting at 20:00 GMT on Sunday is 4:00 AM on Monday in Shanghai.
When I entered the meeting at my 5:30 PM on Friday, I was asked, "Have you verbally shared your faith in Christ this week?" by the evangelical friends church southwest.
Whooops! Seems this Liberal Quaker took a wrong turn in cyberspace.
I am not wishing to intrude. I may be mistaken, but was that a 'real member' that you were in MfW with there or just the automatic minitry that was posted?
I ask, because their is daily automatic ministry from various branches of friends and all there differing Advices and Queries to ponder. It is not set by those who are 'regular' attenders there, but continues to show daily.
Perhaps if that is the case, you may reconsider. Always do as you feel led, I just thought that I would let you know, that there are quite a few people that frequent there of various varieties of Friends and seekers and I would say the majority are liberal.
All, however are always very welcome.
Yes, I'd like to echo Jan's comment Denny - it just occured to me too that perhaps it was the automatic A&Q/ministry line that took you aback - it doesn't always speak to my condition either.
But then I guess the more liberal A&Qs from, say, Australia Yearly Meeting that also pop up could give pause for thought to conservative Qs visiting online meeting on that particular day too...
I hope the next try works for you.
PS : I'd be up for a 'date' in the online meeting room if any the readers/contributors to this discussion wanted some long-distance silent worship together, some greater sense of connectedness.
Around GMT 0800 works well for me but I could commit to 30 mins pretty much anytime between GMT0000 and GMT 1200.
As far as I know, these are automated. Not too sure why they are there. Try to take note of those that speak to you. I have found the meeting to be a blessing, as I have no nearby meeting,
As a Liberal Quaker, I don´t mind sharing my space, even cyberspace , with those who come to be quakers via other paths; my guess is that those who attend the online meeting feel much the same - hence the automated thoughts?
Thank you, Judith, Jan Lyn and Virginia.
This is a busy week in Shanghai ... moving, several business issues, etc. When I go to the online worship site at the end of my day, I seem to be there when nobody else is present. Will keep trying and eventually understand the rhythm of the meeting.
Waiting in the light.
What time of the day, GMT or Eastern Daylight Time, are you there? If it's at a time that I can attend, I will do so. Right now it is 11:42 EDT.
China is GMT +8 hours. When you are on daylight savings time, I am exactly 12 hours earlier than EDT. We can use the same clock ;-)
I am pretty much fully occupied with moving and solving some business problems for another few days. My new apartment has a lovely covered balcony overlooking an artificial lake. After a long day of moving, I found an old guitar and sat on the balcony and played a few songs. First contemplative moment I had in some time. The old Irish hymn Be Thou My Vision came to me.
Be thou my vision, oh lord of my heart
Naught be else to me save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day and by night.
Waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.
Oh, such a lovely song with such deeply spiritual words. You know it? I have been singing it and suddenly I realized I don't really understand all of that English.
What does "Naught be all else to me save that thou are" really mean?
Seems to ring true in my soul, but my brain fails me.
We hook up the WiFi at the new home on Friday. Maybe I will be able to sit out on the balcony with my laptop sometime and make that online MFW work.
Thanks for thinking of me.
Naught be else to me save that thou art.
"Naught" translates as "nothing." "Save" in this case means "except." Hence, the line can be translated out of poetic English into prose as, "Be my vision; I want nothing except that." I don't need you to give me anything, promise me anything, do miracles for me. You are. Be my vision in every moment, day or night, Lord of my heart. You are my light, my best thought.
Lovely! I just shared it with a fFriend, who adores hymns. Thank thee, Friend Denny.