I went to my third Quaker meeting this morning. This was an interesting one for me. I have been enough times that I’m feeling a little more at home, yet still so much an outsider in my view. My mom and my boyfriend Matt came with me today. My mother has also been interested in the Quakers for some time and was eager to join. My boyfriend came mainly because I was going and he’s wonderful that way.
Although, unlike when my children joined me, I was not worried about mom and Matt’s ability to remain quiet throughout the meeting; I still found it hard to concentrate. I so much wanted them to enjoy it and have a positive experience that I once again found it almost impossible to hear God through my own ramblings. I wonder if I’ll ever have that “quaking” feeling? If God will ever be able to get through my brain! There were some wonderful sentiments expressed by other members so at least I got to listen to that.
For several hours after a meeting I find myself thinking about whatever was said. It always gives me great food for thought and helps expand my thinking in areas that I wouldn’t get to on my own. I can’t help compare this to the Catholic service I’ve been attending for 8 years. There, the priest gives the homily with the “correct” interpretation of the scriptures and basically tells us how it is. The Quaker monologs, in contrast, lead me to think about how things could be. The Catholics represent limitations, limits on how the bible can be translated, what we can believe and even how we can worship. The Quakers represent possibilities, looking forward not back in time.
I have enjoyed many a Catholic service and have found wonderful elements of the homilies to learn from. However, there is always the sense of college lecture – the learned professor telling his class what they need to know. In the Quaker meetings I experience people sharing themselves with us. Giving tidbits of their lives and thoughts for us to ponder – it’s so eye-opening because it’s simply a whole new way of worshiping God. One – through the texts that so many believe He inspired thousands of years ago, another – through individual members of my own community that He continually inspires.
Oh and I was wrong about Matt being able to sit more quietly than my 5 and 8 year old. They had him beat hands down! 😉