Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Communion, rarely do you hear this word around Quakers. These words from the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, Faith & Practice put it succinctly; "The absence from Friends' worship of the outward observance of the sacraments is due to emphasis on the reality of inward experience...With full appreciation of the help which has come through the outward forms to countless generations of Christians, Friends symbolize by their very lack of symbols the essentially inward nature of the sacraments."
With full appreciation, I wonder? Although Quakers have given up the outward forms of this ritual, have we also given up the spirit of it? I was raised a Catholic and I was taught that the focus of the Catholic Mass is the sacrament of communion, or The Lord's Supper. The consecration of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and the sharing of this Host by the congregation in order to refresh the Spirit within.
If we believe that we embody , in some measure, the Spirit, that of God within, is communion in the consciousness of the Meeting? To see the spark of the Creator in the created when we gather to worship and be refreshed.
Possibly you commune with the Spirit in other ways, at other times. To quote Faith & Practice again; "an affirmation of the sacramental nature of the whole of life when it is under the leading of the Spirit".
For me it is the nature of created things. A philosopher asked Saint Anthony: ” Father , how can you be enthusiastic when the comfort of books has been taken away from you?” And Anthony replied: ” My book, O philosopher , is the nature of created things, and whenever I want to read the word of God, it is right in front of me.”
To me God is in the nature of created things and in painting nature I am trying to capture a glimpse of the Spirit.
This painting, Leaving Townshend, is a morning view of the West River valley in Townshend, Vermont.