Quaker Worship and Love

Well, and here is the crux of the matter: an excellent explanation for why non-theists can worship with Quaker theists.  The bit that stands out is this:

Before letting George Fox speak to us about silent waiting, I want to help nontheists as well as theists to hear him — and to hear each other. Because, as 1 John 4 asserts, God is love and love is God, and because, as Paul asserts, Christ is “the image [in whom we are made; see Gen. 1:27] of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), we can define worship in a way that speaks to theists and nontheists by simply substituting the word “love” for “God” and “Christ” in the source texts. That substitution has been made (except when the meaning would not be clear, or when mythological agency is attributed) in the following passages from Fox.*

And this is to all that would learn silent waiting upon [love] and silent meeting; for none shall ever come to [love] … but as they do come to that of [love] in them, the light which [love] hath enlightened them withal; and that is it which must guide everyone’s mind up to [love], and to wait upon [love] to receive the spirit from [love], and the spirit leads to wait upon [love] in silence, and to receive from [love].

Other than waiting patiently and trustingly for the working of love in our hearts, then, we perform no action in Quaker worship. Our worship is essentially passive. Therefore there is no object toward which our worship is directed, toward which we proffer reverence. We’re simply waiting to feel the motions of love directing our lives. Thus do we avoid the error of attempting to objectify, to reify, God. And thus do we, if we are theists, avoid the error of secretly thinking that we are pleasing God by the work of worship.

Now that makes perfect sense to me. God/Goddess/Spirit is Love.  No scriptures required. No action. Just receive and live. Period.  End of story. Refreshing.

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2 thoughts on “Quaker Worship and Love

  1. Thanks MOI for pointing me at this message of convergence as opposed to “us and them” messages which so often bedevil (perhaps literally) our human religious endeavours.

    Could I just add, for the benefit of those of us temperamentally afflicted by the nagging feeling that we should be “doing something”, that Fox says that we wait passively for love to “direct our lives”. I take this to mean that, if love comes to inform our hard choices, they will be better choices.

    I’m off to work. Good Sunday everyone.

  2. Reg,

    I like this “waiting” that Postmodern George describes in his post. We are all so busy and go here and there to find this and that. We never truly listen or wait do we? Even in arguments we are all quick to make our voices heard rather than contemplate, wait, and find the center point where love is. Good grief! That’s a lot harder.

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