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.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

NEYM Part 6 – In which I mention briefly what I have ommitted and we take our leave of each other.

I have not reported on all that occurred during this years sessions of New England Yearly Meeting. There is, of course, no way that one person could do that anyway. There are two major omissions that I would like to acknowledge. The first was a performance on Tuesday evening of a contemporary oratorio, The Fire and the Hammer. This was the first performance of this work in North America. I found the performance very moving. The words are taken in large part from Fox's Journal and Letters, as well as some letters by Margaret Fell. The piece covers the time from Fox's youth to his vision of a great people to be gathered. I got a sense of how difficult a period this was for George Fox and the strength he must have possessed to do what he did while the Quaker movement was just beginning to take shape. I was also impressed by how well the chorus and the soloists came together since they had less than a week to rehearse together before their performance.

The second was the Bible Half Hours by Maggie Edmundson, pastor of Winthrop Center Friends Church, in Maine. The presentations were informative, entertaining and nourishing. She explored Scriptures and found in it the voice of the Earth, and the voice of God calling us to live in unity with the earth. I am not going to try to provide a digest of the talks. I understand that recordings of the talks have been made and will be available from the Yearly Meeting office. I encourage Friends who are interested to take advantage of the recordings.

When we met on Thursday morning, we had completed most of our business. We approved our epistle. We heard reports from the visitors to the various youth and young adult yearly meetings. We heard the report on sessions and our numbers. The youths joined us and read their epistles to us. Then we adjourned and had lunch and took our leave of each other.

During sessions, and as I reflect on the experience afterwards, Psalm 133 keeps coming back to me.

1 How good and pleasant it is
   when God’s people live together in unity!
 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
   running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
   down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
   were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
   even life forevermore. 

This was the theme for NEYM Sessions some years ago, but it is so fitting. The image of the oil on the head is the annointing of Aaron to be priest. The unity and love we experienced at these sessions felt like an annointing. It showed us what is possible and why it is important to keep working the difficult issues and to pray about them. It showed us that we can stay in the place of brokenness and not fear it, because healing will come. It showed us that we can trust in the Lord because the Lord can work miracles. This blessing and annointing that we received is not just a reward for work already done. It is a preparation and a commission for the work we have yet to do.


Will T

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