I received a post recently from a US person who finds it hard to live simultaneously in her country and in the Kingdom (‘The Way” as I call it). But she tries her best by ‘trying to love neighbours whose lives are affected by [her] daily choices’. This involves, she says, small farming, re-cycling and local community-building. She tries ‘to speak clearly, tenderly and firmly to elected representatives, immigration enforcers etc.’ while also doing her best ‘to look for ways to ameliorate the worst effects of the system without becoming altogether co-opted by its basic assumptions.’ My f/Friend is no different from many around the world who strive to make sense of their lives and spirituality in situations that lend themselves to despair.
She asked how I was living the Way. Well, I write and give talks, do my best to love those around me better than yesterday, lobby officials like her, go to Meeting for Worship, help nurture the life of my Meeting, participate in spiritual gatherings big and small, take part in demonstrations when I can, and pray: prayer has always been important to me—my writings, for instance, are a form of prayer.
George Fox, the early Quaker, advised us to ‘walk in the Light’. I do this by first looking for the Light because it’s out there in myriad Ways—in the people around me, in the plants and animals and birds, in the gardens in my neighbourhood, in the forests and beaches. And I also see it in the saints—they who quietly bring the Presence into our lives as well as those ‘big’ souls who stand tall for The Way. People like Dorothy Stang, Maximilian Kolbe, Tom Fox, Adam Curle, Jane Haining and Ignacio Ellacuría. As with Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hugo Chavez, these folk rode the stallion of Divine Love. And yet, everyone can give voice to the gift of God in them in their own Way or ‘own measure’ as the early Friends used to say—‘that of God’ (the ‘Kingdom’) within them.
It seems to me that my new f/Friend is doing the work of The Way in One-derful ways already! And her prayer no doubt gives her the strength to persist, even when she wants to give up. We can all carry the Cross that leads us out of despair into Love. This is the marvelous thing about prayer. But let’s not forget that what she actually does in the world is a One-derful form of prayer in itself, a ‘doing prayer’, a ‘doing theology’. It is worshipping in the truest sense—loving with wonder (‘One-der’).
Listen, the other day I saw a yellow-breasted bird. She landed on a picnic table nearby and stayed a few minutes. Then, with lighting speed she turned and flew straight into the rainforest knowing exactly where to go. What did this mean for me? Well, like a lot of people, I see yellow as a sign of hope and joy, living gifts of the Source, the One. I will always find these when I go back (or deep) into my self, when I seek the same Christ in me who is also in you, and surrender so that I may be guided in spreading the ‘Kingdom’ in ways that bring peace, justice, compassion, truth and simplicity in a manner that respects our equality before the Spirit/Love. I often falter because I’m flawed. But I don’t give up because, after all, I know in my heart what the alternative brings. Join me.