Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Word Up to the Drayton-in-the-Clay Massive!

It is ironic indeed that this broad and traditional Anglican's faith has been so strengthened and reaffirmed by a group of people whose views on the Bible, on the sacraments, the trinity and the creeds are so vastly different to my own. But it's true, I have learned so much about how to live my life as a Christian from Quaker thought and practice; the writing of Fox, Pennington and Penn and the Quaker testimonies have helped transform me from a Christian (as noun) to a Christian (as verb). I suppose this is because, traditionally, the Friends have focussed so very much on the way the Holy Spirit works in each and every one of us, that we should be aware of this "inner light" in our own lives, and the lives of others, and do our best (through God's grace) to act with integrity in accordance with our faith. I came to belief through intellectual reasoning; my conversion came as a result of a kind of philosophical navel gazing on ethics, humanity and ecology; and my belief in Christ, as both fully man and fully God, was both a leap of faith and an act of will! The writing and beliefs of the Quakers helped me to come to terms with, understand, and fully appreciate the practical applications of the mysticism of my faith. That is to say, that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and living in you and I! And, this my friends is beautiful. Now, this post came about because I found a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier (thanks to Nan and Zillah for giving me the nod) which is a beautiful expression of "my master's footprints in our daily lives" which I thought you all would like. However, traditional, Biblically minded Christians may want to "turn the other cheek" regarding the theology of the the first two lines of the poem! Oh, but before the poem, here are the thoughts of Isaac Pennington that have helped me grow in faith.

"It is not enough to hear of Christ, or read of Christ, but this is the thing - to feel Him my root, my life, my foundation..."


We live by Faith; but Faith is not the slave
Of text and legend. Reason's voice and God's,
Nature's and Duty's, never are at odds.
What asks our Father of his children, save

Justice and mercy and humility,
A reasonable service of good deeds,
Pure living, tenderness to human needs,
Reverence and trust, and prayer for light to see

The Master's footprints in our daily ways?
No knotted scourge nor sacrificial knife,
But the calm beauty of an ordered life
Whose very breathing is unworded praise!--

A life that stands as all true lives have stood,
Firm-rooted in the faith that God is Good.


Left-Handed Housewife said...

Wonderful post! No matter what tradition we practice (and by "we" I mean Christians), I think we would all do well to learn from each other. I know that many of my evangelical friends are growing more interested in liturgy and tradition, and I have Anglican friends starting Bible studies (which is notable, since a lot of people I go to church with are functionally illiterate when it comes to the Bible). It enlivens our faith to take a look at it from a different perspective, to approach it through a different door.


Dulce Domum said...

Hi Frances

You made me laugh! Anglicans who are functionally illiterate when it comes to the Bible, it is so true! I was/am that Anglican. My Bible knowledge is much improved, but I still feel more wedded to the BCP (turn to it in times of crisis, far more than I do the Bible). It's the Evangelicals who've spurred me on to greater knowledge of the Bible. We as Christians have so much to learn from one and other, and we can do this to both enhance both our faith and our traditions.

Gumbo Lily said...

We all have our own "walk with God" and as unique as the man is, so's his walk. It's beautiful.

I liked what you said, Dolce.


Anonymous said...

That is to say, that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and living in you and I! And, this my friends is beautiful.

Amen my friend, amen.

I love this scripture from Jeremiah (didn't note exactly where and now lost it):

"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

The Ancient of Days living within us through His Holy Spirit! It astounds me and addles my brain, it is too wonderful for words!

I'm also thinking of the scripture at the beginning of John which teaches us that Jesus is the Word of God, the embodiment of the scriptures and He is written on our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Cor 3:3

I think when we read scriptures we find deep things through Him Who teaches our hearts by a knowledge we could never attain by study; or sing hymns of praise that speak of Christ with a joy that bubbles up from we know not where; or just sit and be with brothers and sisters who know Christ our spirits testifying by the Holy Spirit as to the truth and beauty within. Without that 'inner light' everything is darkness.

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Does all that make sense?


Dulce Domum said...

Hi Jody
You're right, and I think we have to go at our own pace too. I think that we should go slowly in our spiritual lives, admit that we don't know it all, give time for the Holy Spirit to work on us, listen to the "still, small voice".

Hi Sarah
I'm going to take some time to digest what you said. The passage from Jeremiah is astounding, I love it, I kind of knew it was there, but didn't contemplate it much. (I'm not good with the OT). I have much to learn, chuckie-egg!

Anonymous said...

Some more thinks and ponderings, I hope you don't mind :)

'...ask where the good way is'

On musing this scripture again I remembered that

Christianity was called 'The Way' right at the beginning;

Jesus called Himself 'the way, the truth and the life';

He is the 'Good Shepherd' leading the flock (as Jewish shepherd do - they don't drive from behind like western shepherds), showing his sheep the way.


There is the scripture from Psalms: 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.'

God is the Ancient of Days (Isaiah and Daniel both mention this), He is the ancient pathway. Jesus (who is the Alpha and the Omega - the beginning and the end) is the Way (being Himself God and with God from the beginning).

Jesus is the Word, the light and the pathway to God mentioned in all the scriptures.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus - therefore He is all these things within us!!!

You're post has set up some deep ponderings of my own.

Thank you chuck.

Anonymous said...

' for your souls' AND Jesus is our sabbath rest.

We make a choice at those crossroads mentioned in the Jeremiah scripture - the cross of Christ, to choose life or to turn away and choose death.

'Rest for our souls'.. for "I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" said Jesus in Matthew.

We rest in His Holy Spirit, we find peace, joy, hope, faith, knowledge, self-control, understanding, wisdom, light in this dark world. He guides our pathway and carries us through danger.

I'm writing all this anew to myself, I don't presume to teach one bit, as I said you've sparked some deep thinking.