It is a waiting room of sacred listening.

It is a waiting room of gathered silence.

In the silence I sit and I turn my heart to the Light.

As the Light bathes my soul, it is a time of tremendous healing.

As divine Love overwhelms my soul,  tears overwhelm my eyes.

Oneness and openness engulf my soul, filling the room; faces shine in expression of inner Light.

Desire, like fire, burns within and surrenders to the path of divine purpose.

Cares of the world fall away, along with the racing thoughts of past and future.

Nothing else matters but the present sacred moment . . .  in silence . . . waiting.

Then, in worship, we fellowship; in worship, we go out; in mystery and wonder,

carrying with us . . . the Silence . . . the Surrender . . . the collective presence . . . and the Divine Presence.

Each new moment arrives one by one, birthed in Silence, bathed in Light, burning with the desire to make a difference on this earth;

to be the heart of God, the hands of Christ, the embodiment of love, to those that cross my path . . .

“to bow before him in profound submission in every moment, and He will fill our souls with his Presence.” (Henry David Thoreau)

This is my experience weekly as I encounter God collectively in Quaker worship. Below is my reflection of one of those encounters.

A PERSONAL REFLECTION OF GATHERED SILENCE; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: repeat repeat; padding: 15px; border: 0px initial initial;">

As we sit in silence, occasionally someone speaks up with a “vocal ministry” to the group. This is something that has been laid on their heart, during the silence, for the group to hear. After going for six months I spoke for the first time. I wanted to write it down so I would remember what was laid on my heart:

“When I come here I sense an openness that is hard to find in today’s society and churches. This openness seems to be nurtured by the silence. (Nobody is telling anyone anything. Words are spoken as a gentle offering from my heart to yours). I sit in silence with my hands open expressing my desire to live an open life.
Open eyes to see and honor the soul of each person.
Open ears to hear the heart behind the words of each person.
Open mind to absorb ideas that are different and new.
Open heart to all people . . . ALL people.
Open will to seek how to serve others in love, gentleness, and peace.”

Each time there is a vocal ministry (sometimes up to 5 in a meeting), I feel like I am walking away with the impact of a full sermon for each one. I usually only remember and take to heart 3 or 4 sentences of a 45 minutes sermon anyway. It is very enriching. Mostly though I walk away with a heart full of peace.

“The Quaker way is a spiritual path for our time that is simple, radical, and contemporary”
(from Quaker Quest of Friends General Conference)

LISTENING FOR GOD: SILENCE IN QUAKER WORSHIP (Tom Rothschild); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: repeat repeat; padding: 15px; border: 0px initial initial;">

“One by one we enter the room, into the silence that is already there, and take our seats. The silence touches each of us, spreads and deepens as the room fills, finally gathering us all into a single body, covered by a Spirit that is beyond all names.

“For the last 350 years, this gathered silence has been the foundation of Quaker worship. The silence of Quaker worship, however, is not an end in itself, but an opportunity for seeking communion with the Sacred. Quakers do not worship the silence, but that to which the silence leads. If mystical experience is a direct and unmediated experience of the Divine, the Sacred, God, then the Quaker meeting seeks and sometimes achieves a group mystical experience in which all present can share together in this connection. For these moments, all are ‘gathered’ and are ‘covered’ by the Spirit. Here Quakers have found—and still find—a communion in the silence” that is deeper and stronger than any bread and wine.

“As expressed by the early Quaker Edward Burrough,
While waiting upon the Lord in silence, as often we did for many hours together, with our minds and hearts toward him, being stayed in the light of Christ within us from all thoughts, fleshly motions and desires, we received often the pouring down of the spirit upon us, and our hearts were made glad and our tongues loosened, and our mouths opened, and we spake with new tongues, as the Lord gave us utterance, and his spirit led us, which was poured upon sons and daughters.’

“At the start of the meeting, we sit as individuals, joining into the silence in our own particular ways. One may pray inwardly; another may begin with a meditation exercise, or by writing in a journal, or by taking time to sense the quality of light, the state of energy in the room. In these separate ways we gradually become more and more deeply attuned to the silence, which has its own quality–thick or thin, vibrant, pregnant, resisting, enfolding. Slowly, each comes to that deep, centered place where the mind becomes quiet, and each becomes more closely united with all present, more able to listen for that still, small Voice.

“To have the possibility of reaching that Oneness in which all are gathered and sense the communion with the Sacred, the meeting must begin with a core of those who approach it with discipline, a discipline that does not start upon walking into the room but is practiced every day of their lives.

“Worship, and preparation for worship, begin before one has left one’s home. . . . Worship in a meetinghouse with one’s friends should be only a special period of a life of worship that underlies all one’s daily affairs. For he who carries a Shekinah (manifestation of the Presence of God in Jewish theology) daily in his heart, and practices continual retirement within that Shekinah, at the same time as he is carrying on his daily affairs, has begun to prepare for worship, for he has never ceased worshiping. Such worship is no intermittent process, but a foundation layer of the life of the children of the kingdom.
I must, then, maintain my sense of the sacred throughout every day.”

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