I like to rant. I like to break down Quaker sociology. But often I’m quiet about simply testifying to how Christ’s love comforts me, guides me, elders me.
So here’s a testimony from that “Youth Ministries”:/martink/archives/000555.php retreat a few weeks ago. It was Seventh Day I believe and we had been going in conference mode for awhile. I needed a break. I put my jacket on and found a sunny bench overlooking a barn at the bottom of a sloping dell. I turned to my current reading, Job Scott’s Essays on Salvation by Christ and read this line:
bq. Men may do many works, which, as to the outward act, are good, or which would have been truly so had they been works of the new creation, and wrought of God in Christ, and which yet have no part in the great work of true justification.
The line spoke through me in a way that writing it here won’t explain. I knew that the Source was trying to teach me using this paper, through the words and the ministry of a long-dead Friend. I was being told to be patient and to continue returning returning returning to prayer for guidance. The Spirit used these words to remind me to root all action in Christ’s fertile soil.
As I turned away from the bench and looked out across the snow-covered lawn in front of me, I understood that the consultation was another part of the great ongoing work of Quakerism, and the even greater ongoing joy of Spirit breaking out into the world. All the action plans and agendas that would come out of this talk meant less to God than my simple obedience and trust: right here and now and forever and everywhere. I knew it with the certainty that came from having the hand of that greatest of Comforters resting lightly on my shoulder, saying “hush, all’s well, this is where you should be.”
The unseen hand lifted and over walked a young Friend (who reads this blog, he can tell me whether I’m making too much of this moment). We had what we Friends call an _Opportunity_, that crazy turn of events when the Spirit is close enough where we can talk directly of its presence. After a few minutes, this too passed and two young Friends came stepped out of the old barn and looked up at us. We walked down and ended up playing four-person volleyball. “Idle games” in form, perhaps. But an hour or so later one of the players, a High School Friend, testified that our friendly game was the day’s most important in-breaking of the Spirit, as she had been terrorized by competitive volleyball-paying as a sophomore. As we played together, she felt a warmth and acceptance in all of our goofing off and in the loving comraderie and joyful ineptitude of our serves and volleys.
It’s not about the program. It’s about the love. It’s about the obedience to follow the Spirits’s prompt out of book, into a conversation, then onto a makeshift volleyball court. We never truly know how we are being used. I share this testimony not to encourage volleyball use but to sing aloud the Spirit’s beautiful unknowingness. What joy to know we can shake ourselves of our over-active agendas and know the Spirit experimentally!