Our Virtual Meeting
Some thoughts for Sunday 22 June
History despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
It's a privilege to educate yourself about racism, rather than experiencing it.
Poster at the Black Lives Matter march in London
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ
Sunday June 14
Racial discrimination arises because fundamentally it is easier to see a man as a stranger rather than a brother if his skin is of a different colour.The stranger ends to be feared rather than loved, and it must be remembered that fears engendered by such differences are not always imaginary. They can be resolved only in as far as relationships between man and man, of whatever race, are conceived in terms of a constant realisation that the members of one race are the children not of the members of another race but the children of God. Against this, imperialism, exploitation and even paternalism cannot stand.
Race Relations Conference,1954
Christian Faith and Practice 657
Sunday June 7th
...There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages hath different names; it is, however, pure and proceeds from God. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion nor excluded from any where the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows, of what nation soever, they become brethren.
John Woolman, 1762... QF&P 26.61
'The families I was working with were as thirsty for dignity as they were for running water.'
Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World
'The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness can never put it out.'
Saw this pinned to a noticeboard while our walking.
So we sang, sang away our sadness. In every house and flat and cottage, we clapped and sang, in every hut and tent, in every palace and hospital and prison. And they heard and we heard our song of gladness echoing all together, in glorious harmony across the universe.
from A song of Gladness by Michael Morpurgo 2020
Sunday May 31
Our planet is seriously ill and we can feel the pain. We have been reminded of the many ways in which the future health of the earth is under threat as a result of our selfishness, ignorance and greed. Our earth needs attention, love, care and prayer.
from London Yearly Meeting 1988
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust (from Julia)
Two thoughts for Sunday May 24
'What right have you to take the word 'wealth' which originally meant 'well-being and degrade and narrow it by confining it to certain sorts of material objects measured by money.'
'So long as there is life there is happiness, and there is a great deal still to come'
Leo Tolstoy (from War and Peace)
A thought for Sunday: May 17
Napoleon Bonaparte went to Moscow and burnt the city down. Thousands of soldiers died all for nothing. Napoleon is still considered a great hero by some and many know his name.
Daniel Wheeler went to Petersburg and drained the marshes. Fine farms were developed and the city made healthier for all. Hardly anyone has heard of Daniel Wheeler.
Sunday May 10
'Faith is a bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.'
We seem to be at a turning point in human history.
We can choose life or watch the planet become uninhabitable for our species.
Somehow, I believe that we will pass through this dark night of our planetary soul to a new period of harmony with the God that is to be found within each of us, and that S/he will inspire renewed confidence in people everywhere, empowering us all to co-operate to use our skills, our wisdom, our creativity, our love, our faith – even our doubts and fears – to make peace with the planet. Strengthened by this fragile faith, empowered by the Spirit within, I dare to hope.
Pat Saunders, 1987 Quaker Faith and Practice 29.03
'Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.'
St Paul Philippians 4:8 from Quaker Life and Practice (Ireland) 1.88
Monday May 4th from Valerie C
Reflection for the week 4th May
This comes again from Quaker Faith and Practice, written by Howard H Brinton in 1931. I think we may all find this good as we reflect on the enormous advances there have been in nearly nine decades.
Today Science is rediscovering the creative mystery of the universe. The old self-assurance is largely gone. Within the first quarter of the 20th century a revolution has taken place. The laws of mechanics no longer explain all things. The intellect of man has become aware of something strange and unpredictable at the very heart of existence. Matter and radiation have assumed a complexity which was hardly guessed at during the eighteen hundreds. The exploration of the minute structure of matter seems to have taken us as far into the unknown as does the exploration of the farthest spaces of space.
What would Howard Brinton be writing in 1920? When he wrote, scarlet fever and polio were still rife. Today malaria and other diseases besides covid-19, even measles, are endemic if not pandemic. We still have a long way to go.
Sunday May 3
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."
Julian of Norwich
April 30 From Valerie J
I liked the piece above from Julia. My offering today is much more succinct:
‘Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather ‘I have found a truth.’
Monday April 27
Just came across this by Joy Mead from a Way of Knowing (Iona Community)
'There is no religious or moral rule to equal the demands of love. What people will remember of us is not what rules we kept, what creeds we believed, what doctrines we followed, but when we were kind, when we opened our hearts and minds to the sorrows, joys and fears of others and revealed something of our own weaknesses; when we rejoiced with the joyful and walked alongside the sorrowing, when we encouraged the fearful and protected the timid, when we gasped with wonder at the sunset, or expressed joy at the beauty of a flower, when we were hospitable, generous and forgiving, when we were open to the gifts of those seeking our own giftedness, when we made people feel included and valued....In other words, how we responded and connected.'
Sunday April 26
Our life is love and peace, and tenderness: bearing one with another,
and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another, but praying for one another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.
Sunday April 19th
This has helped me this morning.
Waldo Williams QF&P 21:33 (translation at end of book)
"Till at last the whole world came into the stillness
And on the two fields people walked,
And through and between, and about them, goodwill widened
And rose out of hiding, to make them all one.
As when the few of us forayed with pitchforks
Or from heavy meadows lugged thatching of rush,
How close we came then, one to another -
The quiet huntsman so cast his net around us!"
Thought of this this morning:
After hopelessness comes hope
After darkness comes light.
Easter Morning Sun
And still I taste oranges
Whenever I recall our walk
On the road to Capernaum
In the cool of the Easter morning sun:
Lengthening our horizons
Drawing the days anew.
In the dust, we sat as wayfarers
Breaking new bread
On a road, scented with oranges,
In the cool of the Easter morning sun.
Sunday 12 April (Easter)
In response to David’s offering yesterday: Pat C
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitable earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any - lifted from the no
of all nothing - human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Saturday 11 April
I wondered if the following could be circulated among members of the Meeting? I find it thought-provoking. David C
Thomas Traherne (1637 – 1674), possibly written about 1660. Canto 39, from his ‘First Century’.
Yet further, you never enjoy the world aright till you so love the beauty of enjoying it that you are covertous and earnest to persaude others to enjoy it, and so perfectly hate the abominable corruption of men in despising it that you had rather suffer the flames of hell than willingly be guilty of their error. There is so much blindness and ingratitude and damned folly in it. The world is a mirror of infinite beauty, yet no man sees it. It is a temple of majesty but no man regards it. It is a region of light and peace, did not men disquiet it. It is the paradise of God. It is more to man since he is fallen than it was before. It is the place of angels and the gates of heaven. When Jacob waked out of his dream he said ‘God is here and I wist it not. How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven.’
Did anyone else see the full moon last night? Absolutely beautiful. Apparently it was a supermoon, the biggest one of the year caused by the moons' close proximity to the Earth. I looked it up and found that Native Americans call April's full moon the pink moon after a species of early blooming wildflower, and believe it represents the theme of rebirth, occurring in all forms of life. Traditionally in British folklore it represented the energy of spring -how appropriate at this Easter season.
I feel that despite the difficult times we are now in, the spring this year has been exceptionally beautiful and we have chance to look with new eyes at our beautiful planet, to replant our roots, deep within the ground and hopefully to feel the steadier for it.
From Genesis 1.31
And God saw everything he had made, and behold it was very good.
Hildegarde of Bingen writes
The Word is living, being spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifests itself in every creature.
I too saw the moon , from the bathroom window in the early hours, and have been taking photos of spring in the yard .
Do you know the song.."you can never hold back spring" sung by Tom Waits..?..Am stuck in the middle of town but a full moon, resilient little violets,,bees, bees, bees. Gill
Sunday April 5th
We shall be holding Meeting again at 10.30 as we did last week. In spite of there being just the two of us we did manage to feel connected to all our other Friends who we knew were doing the same thing in their own homes.
This morning I have started to read the Advices and Queries and found the first one my inspiration for the week ahead. Valerie
Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.
I read this today, (Cilla)
Tread softly - all this earth is holy ground. It may be,
could we look with seeing eyes, the spot on which we sit is Paradise.
I was there too. (Julia)
My reading brought this quote of St Augustine,
"Trust the past to the mercy of God; the present to his love; the future to his providence".
It was by Svetlana the daughter of Stalin.
I've been reading
Matt Haig's "Notes on a nervous planet" and the following struck me as
very resonant for our times. I thought it might be worth sharing.
"The world may be sad, but remember, a million unsung acts of kindness
happened today. A million acts of love. Quiet human goodness lives on."
Best wishes. Hazel
Below are contributions from Newark Friends to share at this difficult time
WHAT HAVE THE QUAKERS EVER DONE FOR US? – a short introduction to Quaker achievements
Written originally as a response to Richard Dawkins’s allegation that “religion has had nothing to do with social improvement” this booklet finds a unique way of presenting Quakerism to both newcomers and experienced Friends alike. It covers achievements in pacifism, peace making, relief work, equality, democracy, human rights, human relationships and reform, education, science and the industrial revolution. The reader is left wanting to know more about the remarkable Friends who had such a powerful influence on the way we live and think today.
“A very good piece of outreach. It makes me proud to be a Friend.” John Punshon.
Copies can be obtained price £2 plus 50p postage from John Gwatkin c/o Quaker Meeting House,1-3 Meeting House Lane, Brant Broughton, LN5 0SH.