EXPLORATION OF SPIRIT/GOD
Saturday, May 9, 2020, 3:30 p.m. & Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 11:30 a.m. (via Zoom).
Come listen and discuss your thoughts and questions with other Ann Arbor Friends. This time we will be reading from an excerpt from A Lasting Gift: The Journal and Selected Writings of Sandra L. Cronk (Quaker Press, 2009).
“It is not possible to measure the success of a time of quiet listening by the feelings we experience in silence. In fact, the search for peak experiences can be a subtle snare. The religious life is not a matter of accumulating wonderful spiritual experiences. Rather, it is a matter of the fidelity of our relationship with God. The building of this relationship often involves very difficult experiences. Sometimes the strengthening of this relationship involves no special experience of God at all. We may come into the quiet and face what seems only emptiness and nothingness. Paradoxically, this does not always mean that something has gone wrong with us or our listening. It may mean that something has gone right. For the awareness of our own emptiness may mark a significant shift in our relationship with God.”
[Then Cronk writes about a silent retreat in which she experienced “darkness.” But she stayed true to her plan to be still and didn’t shift to other activities like reading or writing, prayer or contemplation. She just sat there, with nothing to do, nothing going on.]
“And strangely, in that emptiness, when I felt as though nothing were happening, the real work of God began. There was no special feeling connected with it. There was simply a deep knowing that began to emerge in the darkness. I realized that it was only in this empty place when I had come to the end of myself, my own efforts to think wonderful thoughts and my attempts to conjure up the presence of God, that God could finally begin to speak to me. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that only then could I begin to listen.”
For the May discussions, our time will be spent in sharing rather than with a lengthy reading. The format will be a mix of ‘Worship Sharing‘ and discussion.
Zoom connection information for this event is as follows: Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/92398341668 (Meeting ID: 994 4553 2926).
Please see the Meeting’s Reading and Discussion page for more information about the context, practice, and goals of ‘Reading and Discussion’.
Please see the Meeting’s Changes page for a comprehensive list of changes to worship, events, and Zoom connection information.