What is my religion? My friends, my teachers, my God. And who is my God? He speaks within me; if I mishear, my friends correct me; if I misdo, I look to Jesus Christ. How then am I taught? I hear in the silence, I ponder in solitude, and I try in the noisy crowd to practise it. What do I learn? To put gaiety before prudence, grace before pleasure, service before power. What am I commanded? To seek patience in suffering, humility in success, steadfastness always. What is forbidden me? To reject another's love, to despise another's wisdom, to blaspheme another's God. And to what purpose? To help others, that we may enter the Commonwealth of Heaven together, each to find our Being in the Whole.
Frederick Parker-Rhodes, 1977 – Quaker Faith and Practice 26.41
This passage was read out today at meeting.
Another friend expressed their appreciation of the unprogrammed silent meeting and the opportunity to grab other small moments of stillness as their occur. These moments were sometimes a much treasured escape for them. They also referenced 1 Corinthians 10:13 in relation to coping with life's challenges.
A few notices of note. A first hand report of last Thursday's Area Meeting in Milton Keynes and leaflets from Harpenden Quaker meeting in relation to their appeal for help realising their refurbishment initiatives.
There was lots of friendly chat after meeting with a shared cuppa as usual and pleasure in meeting a visiting friend whose work has limited their ability for involvement and attendance as regularly as had been possible in past years. Much smiles.
A depiction of the Quaker testimonies from the Friends Meeting House in Norwich, Norfolk, UK. Luton Quakers have been discussing the testimonies at our study group on alternate Wednesday evenings. We've already mused on peace and equality and will soon explore the truth testimony.
Annie and I participated in the demo against the visit of the Canadian premier Stephen Harper to the UK. He was given the great honour of speaking to both the Commons and the House of Lords.
Quaker Peace and Social Witness join with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the World Development Movement and others to campaign against the catastrophic extraction of oil from the Canadian tar sands.
It was important to be there – with about 30 other individuals in total. Our own government is complicit with the Canadians in trying to undermine the EU Fuel Quality Directive – so that oil extracted at huge environmental cost from the Alberta Tar Sands can be imported into Europe.
The devastation in Alberta will be of an area the size of England, with huge damage to plants, animals, rivers…The rights of First Nation inhabitants have been ignored. James Hansen has said that if this goes ahead it will be “game over” as regards trying to limit climate change (the oil deposits are second only in size to Saudi Arabia’s, and the energy and pollution costs of extracting it are far higher). It is little known that British banks are much involved in financing the development (around 17% of the total according to FOE Scotland, led by RBS, followed by HSBC and Barclays).