Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Lord God, whereby thou wilt receive his strength and power from whence life comes, to allay all tempests, against blusterings and storms. That is it which moulds up into patience, into innocency, into soberness, into stillness, into stayedness, into quietness, up to God, with his power. George Fox, 1658
A blog by Lisa Erazmus.
Peace Testimony and Nonviolence
Peace is somewhat of an ambiguous term when used in its broadest sense. It can be a moment of quiet after a very busy day full of noise; it can be the absence of war; it can be the reverence with which people treat one another or even a sacred space. When we look at Friends’ peace testimony, it becomes something altogether more profound.
Care of the Natural World
As we watch the news unfold each day, we may find ourselves asking, “What can I do?” Due to the overwhelming nature of the problems in the world today, we may feel that there is nothing we can do “to transform the world with our loving spirit” as the first query for this month asks. We can, however, transform our hearts, which in turn can have an enormous impact on our interpersonal relationships and create ripples which will in turn reach the farthest shore.
Being a witness as Quakers may be most obviously evident in how we live the testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. These testimonies are not just nice words, but give us a foundation upon which we build our daily lives. They are worthy goals for which to aim, but inevitably, they all boil down to the individual choices we make in every interaction. Each encounter we have with another is an opportunity to recognize “that of God” in them.
Personal Integrity/Right Action
On the surface, the Queries and Advices for Eighth Month seem to affirm who we are as Quakers. Simply stated, “personal integrity and right action” anchor our expression in the world.
The idea of “fulfilling all obligations of state and society that are not contrary to our religious convictions” has always been a challenge. Even Jesus felt it was important to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Of course, we don’t get the money for our taxes by gutting a fish and pulling out a coin either.
Home, Family, and Relationships
The queries for Fourth Month center on Mutual Care. Mutuality is giving the same respect, love, care, and trust to others as we would expect them to give to us. It is a universal moral principle, as the Judeo-Christian Golden Rule states, to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”. Virtually every culture and religion in the world has a similar moral precept.