Christian speaker, Jack Maple, talks about how a recent visit to a Quaker meeting has left him reeling.
Have you ever glanced through someone’s window and seen something extraordinary?s
Have you caught yourself wondering how different your life might be if you’d taken a different path?
If you’ve done this then you’re not alone.
I recently took up an invitation to visit a Quaker meeting house and experienced a faith-based meeting like no other I had ever been to. I’d met plenty of Quakers before in my life, but had never taken the time to understand just how it is they went about their praise. I’d assumed (quite wrongly) that they had Sunday Services in much the same way that we did, the reality, from my perspective at least, is that Quaker meetings provide a much more intimate setting for spirituality than that of a large church.
I’ve always been someone who appreciates the closeness of others. Whilst many people might see religion as a relationship between themselves and God, I’ve always felt that the presence of God is most felt when in the company of a legion of people. Choir practice was something that convinced me to dedicate my life to the Lord. To hear my voice soaring in unison with those of my fellow singers was a spiritual joy that I could not find any equal too – until now.
I was welcomed to my first Quaker meeting by a kindly looking man, he smiled broadly and told me that I was expected inside. As I stepped into the meeting room proper, I could see that many of the attendees had already arrived. A handful of empty seats sat by in a circle facing each other, whilst their would-be occupants stood nearby sipping teas and dunking digestives. I made small talk with these people for a few minutes before the meeting began and was encouraged by how open these strangers were, a far cry from the reclusive Quakers I had expected to meet.
Before I could think any further, a small balding man with glasses stood up from his chair and spoke confidently. He told us that God had chosen all of us to be there at that time and that we that our time spent here was precious to both God and our own well being. What he said made sense and I appreciated his candid delivery. As soon as he had said his peace, he sat down once more and we resumed our silence.
No one else spoke in the entire hour that we spent there, giving us plenty of chance to ruminate on what had been said. My first Quaker meeting had none of the usual pomp and circumstance that came with my usual church services, something that I was truly grateful of. I felt immensely grateful to those that invited me along, without their invitation I would not have discovered such an exciting new way of interacting with God.