Growing Together in the Light

A place for Friends and others to explore Quakerism. A place where, in the Light that comes from God, we may all grow and where we may hope to find a unity that underlies our diversity of language.

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Raised a Friend, I am currently a member of Fresh Pond Meeting in Cambridge, Mass. I am also active in Salem Quarterly Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Make me a sanctuary

Before I go on any further about Yearly Meeting I want to say that one of the joys of it was that I got a chance to meet and spend a little time talking with Cat Chapin-Bishop and her husband Peter of Quaker Pagan Reflections. I am always glad to meet in person people I have come to know on-line.

I was also encouraged by the people who came up to me and said that they had found my writing helpful. So I would encourage them, and all of the lurkers out there to respond to what you read here, both what I write and the comments of others. I would much prefer to have a discussion rather than a monologue. So, if you have a question ask it. If I am wrong as to a matter of fact, tell me. How else will I learn? If you disagree with my opinion, I would like to hear yours. One of the gifts that I received at yearly meeting was from a woman who caught me in the lunch line and offered her experience as a contrast to some things I had said in business meeting. I had totally missed her perspective. She gave me the gift of a wider view.

Because I was so busy during sessions I did not have the opportunity to spend as much time as other years going deep into the keynote, the Bible Half Hours or the theme. So I will do some of that here.

The theme of Yearly Meeting Sessions was “Lord-prepare me to be a sanctuary...” In worship on Sunday (and again during the Bible Half Hour on Monday) we heard Exodus 25:1-8:
The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me. This is the offering that you shall receive from them; gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, goats' hair, tanned rams' skins, fine leather, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breastpiece. And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them.

God, you asked for our finest gifts freely given. You asked for acacia wood and fine cloth and jewels. But all I have are splinters and rags and dust and even that I am loathe to part with. Why do I cling so tightly to the things which hurt me and which keep me from you? It is because they are my vain attempts to control the world, to keep me from feeling my pain, both past and present. It is because I am afraid to surrender to you.

I cannot make a dwelling for you. I am not holy and I do not have the holy things to build the sanctuary from. But Lord, you do not dwell in temples made by human hands. If I let you in, you will bless and purify me. You will place the hot coal on my lips as the angel did with Isaiah. You will transform my splinters into the finest wood, my rags into fine and wonderfully colored cloths and my dust into jewels. You will rebuild me using your hands and love and Light into a sanctuary for you, not by my doing, but yours. Then you shall live in me and I in you and you shall be my God. My hands will be your hands. My lips will be your lips. My work will be your work. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Blessings to all.
Will T

2 Comments:

Blogger Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much the pleasure was mutual, meeting at Sessions this year. I'm feeling a tiny bit buried already by back to school prep work, so I'll keep this short--and actually, I don't know how to describe what a good feeling it was to connect in person with someone whose words and ideas I've admired for so long!

It did make me very glad, though.

Will you be at the FUM North American Board meeting at Woolman Hill in October? I'm planning on showing up to share potluck and wash dishes on Thursday night, at least. So perhaps I won't have to wait until next October to say hello again in person.

August 24, 2007 12:13 PM  
Blogger Will T said...

Hi Cat,
Yes, I am planning to be at the FUM Board Meeting in October. I will look forward to seeing you on Thursday night.

Will T.

August 26, 2007 3:54 PM  

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