— Peace & Disarmament (@DisarmQuaker) August 9, 2016
A summer’s day. Doors open at Meeting including an open door to the wild meadow area out the back. the white noise of wind through the trees, distant voices and sounds of the urban town.
We were well attended today. Welcome faces.
A Friend read from the end of the introduction Quaker Faith & Practice. They said this passage looked at the whole of QF&P really and that they felt it placed an emphasis on the richness of Quaker heritage as well as elsewhere in other traditions and other ways of understanding, It also emphasised that we need to rediscover the truth in every generation and that there is perhaps no final truth. That we are all seekers.
“We are seekers but we are also the holders of a precious heritage of discoveries. We, like every generation, must find the Light and Life again for ourselves. Only what we have valued and truly made our own, not by assertion but by lives of faithful commitment, can we hand on to the future. Even then, we must humbly acknowledge that our vision of the truth will, again and again, be amended.
In the Religious Society of Friends we commit ourselves not to words but to a way”.
Later during Meeting our Milton Keynes Friend contributed a short musical offering introduced as a “Greeting from Bedford Hospital Quakers”.
After Meeting we had a wonderful shared lunch with as much food sourced ethically, locally and conscientiously.
We also provided items for donation to LAMP a local charity helping young homeless people.
Meeting took plave in a not overly warm summer morning. Occaisionally the reshness of oncoming autumn air could perhaps be felt. Butterflies weved aroundthe wild grass and flowers in the area that has been left to go wild out the back of the meeting house.
We sat in our usual circle for Meeting.
A while into sitting a Friend spoke, saying that it was difficult looking out at the graveyard and not remember that 100 years ago many young men died. Walking around the graveyard they could see many young men who had died at the battle of the Somme in 1916. They said that one of the unique features or consequences of such horror was that men who had previously refused to serve in combat were allowed to form ambulance services in battle at the time.
They then read a passage by a Quaker who served at the time:
“There is hardly a moment when my thoughts are not with the men in France, eager to help the wounded by immediate human touch with their sufferings. This I was privileged to do during nineteen months spent at the Front with the Friends Ambulance Unit from October 1914 to May 1916, when it was still possible to give voluntary service. At times the impulse to return to this work becomes almost irresistible. May God steady me, and keep me faithful to a call I have heard above the roar of the guns. By the feverish activity of my hands, I might help to save a fraction of the present human wreckage. That would be for me no sacrifice. It costs far more to spend mind and spirit, if need be, in the silence of a prison cell, in passionate witness for the great truths of Peace. That is the call I hear. I believe that only spiritual influence will avail to free the world at last from war, to free the soldiers’ little ones and confused struggling humanity itself from all that men and women are suffering now. I honour those who, in loyalty to conscience, have gone out to fight. In a crisis like the present it would be unbecoming to elaborate the reasons which have led me to a course so different. Today a man must act. I believe, with the strength of my whole being, that standing here I am enlisted in active service as a soldier of Jesus Christ, who bids every man be true to the sense of duty that is laid upon his soul.”
Quaker Faith & Practice 24.13 Corder Catchpool (1883–1952)
Of note here is that Ben Pink Dandelion’s ‘Living The Quaker Way’, as recommended by Luton Meeting (amongst many others of course) is now free, bar postage and packing.
Meeting had a delayed start today due to a Member having a car accident turning into the Meeting House so there was support to be given and taken whilst the immediate matter was sorted out. Luckily nobody was injured except the metal of two cars. Of course it’s an upsetting experience that’s hard not to be affected by.
During Meeting itself a Friend read an extract from Quaker Faith & Practice 18.20
The Society of Friends might be thought of as a prism through which the Divine Light passes, to become visible in a spectrum of many colours; many more, in their richness, than words alone can express.
Later a visiting Friend contributed musically by playing a compact accordion. Often music speaks louder than words. Or at least is complimentary.
At the close of Meeting we were asked to uphold the Friend who had endured the car accident and who had left early as a result.