During the first gathering of Friendly Mystics, we heard that our purpose was to “name the spiritual condition of the world.” However, rather than attempting to fulfill that leading during the upcoming gathering, we have decided to focus the second gathering on naming our personal spiritual conditions and that of the Religious Society of Friends. We made this decision following some conversation among ourselves (the editors of WCTS). In this post, we describe why we came to that conclusion.
We believe that the leading was grace. It utilizes the current strengths of WCTS’s ministry, but it also serves to help us grow. Primarily WCTS gathers and shares experiences/stories of God’s Love, Christ’s Light, the Spirit’s ongoing movement. Month over month, year over year, we describe God’s presence within and among us. However, this leading requires WCTS to more actively acknowledge “the ocean of darkness” in the world. The leading encourages WCTS to shine where the Light can be most clearly seen and encourages those who know the Light to enter into the world with purpose. Through this leading, we are being given the opportunity to come to balance and to help God return our world to balance.
We also believe that “naming the spiritual condition of the world” is a journey. Upon hearing about this leading, a seasoned friend told Rhonda that the first step on this type of path is to identify one’s own spiritual condition. As stated in the previous post, “If one attempts to take the sliver out of others’ eyes, when we’ve still had a plank in our own (see Matthew 7:1-5),” we may pass on to others that which is not healed in ourselves. We may think we are naming what is wrong with the world, but instead we are seeing our own condition in everything around us. So, for these reasons, we decided that the focus for this next gathering should be to name our own spiritual condition, personally and as a religious community, prior to naming the spiritual condition of the world.
Broadly speaking, our purpose in the second annual gathering is 1) to gather to grow in the Spirit, and 2) to take a hard look at ourselves, then share with other Quakers what happened as a result. We hope that what we report will be prophetic, but it could also be that we simply report, “we did 1) and 2) and we’ve decided next year we’re going to gather together again in order to do something totally surprising, but which is not obvious to us now.”
The joy of the Quaker way of approaching hard truths in search of God’s will is that we are open to creative possibilities. If we come expectant, believing that God is going to do something new and wondrous, we are more likely to witness that which is already born among us but which we could not anticipate. Please pray that our ongoing preparations for our second gathering will prepare us all to hear the endless song that plays through all of creation.