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Readings for Reflection: May 2008
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

This month’s reading, from the earliest years of Quakerism, was chosen for its relationship to our monthly query, on Unity within the Meeting (see under "Readings," at left). The passage is reprinted from Britain Yearly Meeting’s Quaker Faith & Practice, 2nd edition, 27.13.


The True Ground of Love and Unity

Even in the apostles' days Christians were too apt to strive after a wrong unity and uniformity in outward practices and observations, and to judge one another unrighteously in those things; and mark, it is not the different practice from one another that breaks the peace and unity, but the judging of one another because of different practices....

And oh, how sweet and pleasant it is to the truly spiritual eye to see several sorts of believers, several forms of Christians in the school of Christ, every one learning their own lesson, performing their own peculiar service, and knowing, owning, and loving one another in their several places and different performances to their Master, to whom they are to give an account, and not to quarrel with one another about their different practices (Rom 14:4). [See below.]  For this is the true ground of love and unity, not that such a man walks and does just as I do, but because I feel the same Spirit and life in him, and that he walks in his rank, in his own order, in his proper way and place of subjection to that; and this is far more pleasing to me than if he walked just in that track wherein I walk.

Isaac Penington, 1660


Romans 14:4: And who are you, to sit in judgment over somebody else's servant? Whether he deserves to be upheld or to fall is for his own master to decide; and he shall be upheld, for the Lord has power to uphold him.

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