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Readings for Reflection: October 2005
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

Query: Active Faith and Living Practice

At this time of year the Ministry and Nurture Committee of Lake Erie Yearly Meeting sends a Query to Monthly Meetings for consideration and response. The theme of this year’s Query is “Active Faith and Living Practice.” It reads:

In what ways has the Living Presence awakened my faith and turned me around?
  As a Meeting, how do we support each other in being faithful?

Our M&C committee will offer the first part for consideration at the October Friendly Feasts and the second part at an all-Meeting discussion to be held later. Below are some of the Advices and Quotations sent with the Query. [A paper with all 23 Advices and Quotations was made available.]

Live the Questions. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke. Letters to a Young Poet, pp 34-35

Dearly Beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, --not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
Postscript to an epistle to “the brethren in the north” issued by a meeting of elders at Balby, 1656
Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM), 1.01

The same Light that showed [early Quakers] their sins was the source of new life. This may correspond, in modern terminology, to the discovery that the truth is good even when it seems threatening….Another way to think of early Quaker experience is to see it as an example of conversion. In the classic analysis of William James, conversion ends a period of inward conflict of values, when the old ideals or focus of effort is broken down and a new center emerges… More helpful than James’ conversion pattern is the modern psychologist’s description of how an old self-image, with its narrow defense mechanisms and ways of self-fulfillment, can be broken open by a person of conflict. In such a breakthrough many previously buried impulses, appreciations, and creative abilities from outside the known limits of the old personality may be released,…
Hugh Barbour, The Quaker in Puritan England, pp 108 ff

Stay close to the root.    Old Quaker Advice

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together…but encouraging one another.
Hebrews 10:24-25

And this is… a charge to you all in the presence of the living God, be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them. Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one; whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you. Then to the Lord God you will be a sweet savour and a blessing.
George Fox, Journal (Nickalls), p 263

We are reminded by Christ’s life on earth that faith and practice are one. We refrain from fixing our faith in a formal set of words because we feel that the experience and knowledge of the divine lies beyond words; it must be lived and demonstrated throughout the whole of life. Our calling as Christians and God’s messengers on earth is to manifest our faith in all we do. We emphasize that it is by living and walking in the Light of Christ which enlightens human kind that we are led to answer that of God in others. Our faith is in living revelation which unfolds as God leads us.
PYM 1985, p 5

Let each of you lead the life…to which God called you.
1 Corinthians 7:17

All Readings for Reflection
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