"Have faith and the way will open." --Quaker proverb
At the beginning of April, Spirit was moving in ways of which we were not yet aware.
On the second, we continued our study of Jim Pym's book Listening to the Light: How to Bring Quaker Simplicity and Integrity into Our Lives. We read and discussed the section titled A New Way of Working, which explores Quaker ways of doing the business of the meeting; creatively listening to one another in a worshipful fashion; finding clearness on important decisions; and conducting weddings and funerals. Outside, the purple Bearded Irises were at their peak where they are potted along the front walkway.
On the ninth, the intergenerational t-shirt project resumed in the back of the house while in the front the topic of what Easter meant to early Quakers was explored in worship sharing format. We are beginning to weave little 'Quakerism 101' segments into all we do, and in that spirit some worship sharing guidelines were shared ahead of time.
As we have recently switched up our monthly calendar, potluck was on the second Sunday while Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business fell on the 16th and will be held on the third Sunday for the foreseeable future. There were seven online and five in the meetinghouse, including one visitor, whom we wholeheartedly welcome. Our Friend from Perryville was able to drive in, and the Friend who lives in Crossett joined online, as did our Friend who lives in Edmond, OK. Sweet Mock Orange was in full bloom against the west side of the house, and the the bush that shields one side of the front porch is aflame with red roses.
After worship and time for us all to refuel with lunch, several Friends participated in the ninth annual Pilgrimage for Peace, of which Little Rock Friends Meeting was a sponsor. Our co-clerk Amanda Moore represented us by reading a segment of the names of those who died by violence in Central Arkansas last year. She was one of many peacemakers and activists from a wide array of religious organizations in this community.
On the 23rd, we continued learning about compassionate communication with that Sunday's focus on empathy. On the 30th John gave us a repackaged version of the winter quarterly presentation by Sister Cecelia Brickell, a member of St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith, and a Benedictine monastic. John reports having been impressed with her story, entitled "Silence and Simplicity in the Benedictine tradition," in part because she reminded him of Quakers he's heard who've spoken or written about a "prolonged seeking of God's will." He was also struck by the manner of her presentation--her kindness and her openness.
Here is one of the excerpts John shared from her remarks that February day:
In our meetings all are encouraged to share respectfully and reflectively whatever they feel the spirit is leading them to say. During that time we do not respond, or form response in our minds, or at least we aren’t supposed to; we LISTEN. Then we consider all that has been said silently and prayerfully come to a consensus. Even in our communal praying of the liturgy of the hours we take short quiet pauses between the psalms and readings in order to consider what God has said to us, and how we are to live God’s word at this time in our lives.
During the announcements and pastoral concerns period at the end of worship, Liz gave us an update on the Richard Glossip case in Oklahoma, which our meeting is closely following. She also reported that over $800 has been raised for the ongoing care of the animals of our late friend Rex D. Friend; the horses, donkey, and ponies were taken in by a kind couple nearby. We also got news this day that Friend Elise, after a period of sitting in the Light to discern the direction her life will take has felt led to move to Little Rock in order to participate more fully in the life of the meeting. As you can see in the photo, the first to receive this spectacular news could not stop beaming. The phrase 'way opens' came up more than once that brilliant April day.