What I find compelling and inspiring about the lives
of these early Friends is their mutual and active desire to be accountable for the spiritual health, nurture, and behavior of members,
attenders, and the meeting as a whole. I believe we need to get back to this
accountability and to revitalize the culture of mutual spiritual nurturing and
care within our own faith community.
A Friends meeting is intended to be so much more
than a loose association of individuals on separate and private spiritual
journeys. Friends are called to be a faith community, seeking to know each other
"in that which is Eternal" as we journey together. Ideally we acknowledge that
our primary relationship is to God and to that of God in each other. We let go
of the idea that we have only private lives and hold ourselves accountable to
the authority of the Spirit in the life of the meeting. We grow in a sense of
responsibility for each other and become part of a gathered community.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Learning to Be Accountable
I've been reading the newest Pendle Hill pamphlet to arrive, "Spirit-Led Eldering" by Margery Mears Larrabee. I'm only a short ways into it but on passage really spoke to me when I read it yesterday:
This reminds me that I have an obligation, an accountability, to reach out in Meeting for Worship rather than going inward. Some weeks I am able to center down and feel Spirit flowing like the Water of Life. Other weeks I show up at meeting with my head full of every little thing spinning like laundry in a dryer. I tend to think of the laundry weeks as an irritant. Maybe that's not how I should view them. Maybe I should try to get outside myself to actively visualize the connections between us. When I realize that I am responsible to the meeting to "bring down the Spirit," I have a new understanding of how I am an integral part of the community and accountable for gathering us together.
(I don't know about y'all but sometimes I have such trouble undoing formatting things that I've done. I tried putting the above quotation in a "block quote" by using the button at the top of the "create" page but when then I accidentally hit the backspace key and the quotation becomes a regular paragraph and when I hit the block quotes button again the sentence structure is all weird. Sorry.)