Monday, March 19, 2007

"Out of our brokenness make us a blessing"

“Out of our brokenness make us a blessing. . .”(Judith L. Brutz, 1990)
“Rise radiant in the sacrament of pain” (Thomas Kelly 1939)
I have been thinking and praying on the idea of brokenness lately. When I was at the Young Adult Friends Conference in New Jersey a Friend spoke in meeting, and said that the Religious Society of Friends was broken and it was we who had broken it. Later several Friends encouraged me to view the idea of brokenness not merely as negative, something is broken and we must work to fix it, but as a more positive sensitizing and opening to God. The idea of hearing God and being opened to the Spirit only after one has known great suffering and pain is an idea with very Biblical roots. After much prayer I have come to see brokenness as being broken open to God, having one’s inner walls torn down to experience God’s love and grace, and to be torn from the roots to find freedom in the Lord. As I was praying on brokenness in meeting this Sunday, two things kept coming to me. The first thing was a variation on a line from the prayer I had just written; “let us know suffering so we might find your strength Oh God and ours”. I also continuously kept returning to the image of fire and burning as representing the Holy Spirit. I was reminded of such images as the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire in Acts, the idea of being baptized in fire as representing the Holy Spirit and the line from Thomas “Jesus said ‘I have cast fire upon the world’” (Thomas Saying 10), as well as Paul when he said “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Also during meeting I was reminded of a story another Friend at the YAF Conference had told about a group of early Friends who gathered one Sunday only to discover that their Meeting House had been burnt to the ground during the night by people hostile towards Quakers. Instead of going home these Friends chose to worship standing on top of the burnt rubble of what had once been their Meeting House. I am drawn once more to the question of what does it mean that the Religious Society of Friends is broken and it is we who have broken it. I now believe that we have broken ourselves open to the power and grace of the Lord. That we have struggled and suffered and cried out for guidance and have been torn open to Her divine will. We have lit ourselves afire with the power of the Spirit and we are made free. I believe that when the smoke clears we will find ourselves standing among the rubble of that burning, made new in the simplicity of what we truly are a group of people bound together by the expectant waiting and witness of the Lord. And we will know our strength. And we will know God’s.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


today I was moved to sit down and try to write a prayer. It's the first prayer I've ever written, so bare with me.

Let us pray
that we remember God’s grace.
Even on the good days
when the sun shines and life seems good.
That we give praise for all that we have
on the days when we are stricken
by grief, or anger, or frustration
and all things seems against us.

God let us remember
those that love us.
Who will never leave
and forgive even our
greatest faults and most annoying habits.
And Lord let us remember
those who are not loved.
Who live in fear, and
have nowhere to turn.

Lord give us patients
with those who act in anger
and those who turn way from help we try to give
let us see that we all have faults
and we all turn away sometimes.

God gives us strength
to face our days,
and to perform
your work with grace.
Let us know laughter
and bring laughter to those we love.
And let us know grief
so we can find our strength and yours
Oh Lord
when we are lost
bring us home.

In Christ’s name I pray

Monday, March 12, 2007

Simple Things

The last week or so has been hard for me, I’ve been stressed out by work and other commitments seem to have come pilling up on me just now. But this Sunday I took the time to worship with Friends from Earlham School of Religion over on ESR campus. The room we worshiped in Quigg I found very beautiful and settled. I was reminded of the first time I had worship at Earlham when I was a freshman. I had been worshiping with Clear Creek Meeting then, but because there was construction being done on their meetinghouse they had met in Quigg. I had been struck then by the simple beauty and tranquility of the room. I found myself feeling very blessed to being worshiping there again. Every time I lapse in attendence of meeting (something I find all too easy to do while I’m at school and spend my weekends studying and catching up on work) I end up forgetting how much I enjoy and need Quaker worship. This Sunday although I came to meeting stressed and anxious I felt myself relaxing while I sat in the silence. Meeting for me has always been one of the few places I can successfully leave my work at the door and concentrate on other things. A Friend spoke during meeting reading allowed a Psalm that particularly spoke to me that day, and by the time the rise of meeting was called I was happier then I had been in a long time.