My Quaker Meeting is in the midst of a Sabbath Year, where we put aside the normal business of the community as much as possible
so as to find our unity as a meeting. I was led to say the following to my beloved community after we had been about three
months into the process.
Our Sabbath Year is like the Sabbath hour we spend every First Day morning. We are quieting ourselves to find the unity
which gathers us. We, in this twelfth month just ending, are in the first quarter of the hour, the first 10 to 15 minutes,
with folks still shuffling in and out of the room and a letting go and a surrendering and a settling still going on. I urge
us to be faithful and let ourselves quieten. Yes, in entering the sabbath, we as Quakers set aside our busyness to enter
into the quiet core of ourselves. Sometimes an entire Sabbath Hour goes past with nothing being said, and indeed to an unfamiliar
person it would appear that nothing is going on, but it is.
As I listen to many of you speak your concerns these days, I notice that there are many themes building. Many of us feel
we are encountering private problems, as many of us might think we are struggling with private problems at the beginning of
a sabbath hour which ministry during the hour or comments after the hour show are not private at all but part of the spirit
of the meeting. Some of us are worrying about whether we as individuals should be Quaker or not. We are worrying about whether
we can trust Friends at [our Meeting] to be truly Friends or whether another meeting, either existing or in our imagination
only, would be better. A number of us are grieving the death of the old [Meeting], which is an idea I resisted but which
is popping up in so many conversations that I realize it is a grieving process which I must respect. But still, I see us
resisting the quieting, resisting the letting go into the quiet core from which will come all answers and all comforts. Some
of us are still entering and exiting the room and entering again. Some of us can't quite quit muttering yet. Quieten Friends.
Let yourself go into this meeting to which we've been called.
I write this now because I wish to urge us to be faithful. We are not called to meet in silence this year because we
have problems. We were called to this Sabbath because we were called. God is doing work with us. Let us continue to quiet
our egos and wait in faithfulness. Maybe no words will be said this Sabbath Year, such as many Sabbath Hours go past without
vocal ministry, but that doesn't mean nothing happens. I can feel us already being tendered to each other. Friends, do not
enter into the worship of worry but the worship of a faithful Spirit. And please do not believe that what you are individually
struggling with is automatically your struggle alone, nor automatically should be raised up as our struggle as a group. We
are called upon to discern when ministry is for us as an individual and when it is for the group.
This Sabbath Year is exactly like a Sabbath Hour. We are seeking our unity in the Spirit. We know how to do this. What
a blessed gathering is possible. And when we are done, perhaps we will have a clear sense of our unity from which to go out
and do our work for the next couple of decades.