On Sunday, January 24, at 9:45 a.m. on Zoom, members of the Worship and Ministry Committee of Newtown Friends Meeting will present and lead the program, Searched by the Light.
The term, “Light,” is central to many descriptions of Quakers and the Religious Society of Friends. Quakers speak of the Light Within as that aspect of the Divine that dwells in each person. That is basic in the Quaker core belief in equality, that “all people are equal in the eyes of God.” Quakers often speak of being “open to the Light” or “searching for the Light” during discernment of Truth regarding difficult issues and during their Quaker Meetings for Worship based on waiting in expectant silence.
The Worship and Ministry Committee statement for the program reads: “In such challenging and troubled times as these, it is more essential than ever to look deep into our faith and be open to guidance and accountability by the Spirit. This program will offer a structure and safe place for us to explore our accountability and our authentic roles in these times. This program allows us to be open and vulnerable and to explore what pushes us off center. What has become an obstacle to us for receiving a leading from the Spirit? What is the prompting of the Spirit in the midst of the anger, fear, and hatred we see around us due to political strife, economic suffering, environmental crises, and dehumanizing of people? How do we find Divine Truth and discern what actions the Spirit wants us to take?”
For over 350 years, Quakers have talked of holding themselves accountable by being open to the Spirit, to be searched by the Light. In the 1650s, an early Quaker, Margaret Fell noted, “Let the eternal Light search you, and try you; it will rip you up, lay you open, and make all manifest that lodges within you.” And the founder of Pennsylvania in 1682, William Penn said, “Truth, the light of Christ within, who is the light of the world, and so a light to you that tells you the truth of your condition, leads all that take heed unto it out of darkness into God’s marvelous light; for light grows upon the obedient.”
During its presentation, the Worship and Ministry committee will set forth the structure of the two programs (January 24 and 31) devoted to Searched by the Light and discuss how to use the process for one’s own discovery of what the Light reveals to each of us. Quotations and references to books from well-known historical and contemporary Quakers will be included in the discussion. Specific examples from these Quaker writers will be examined regarding how to live faithfully in “dark times” and “be open to the Light in the most challenging of circumstances.”
The Worship and Ministry Committee asks, “How do we deal with current challenging issues and events and how we deal with the strong emotional responses from ourselves and others? Do we feel the nudge to live more faithfully with regard to crisis situations such as COVID-19, racism, divisive politics, and climate change? If we allowed the Light to see us, what might it reveal for transformation? With the support and structure of this program and our community, each person can explore at one’s chosen pace and intensity. This program will provide a structure to make this experience less daunting and will offer clearness in a path forward: With the guidance of the Spirit, what can we offer the world, our communities, and our families?”
The following Sunday, January 31st, everyone attending will have the opportunity to put Searched by the
Light into practice with people participating in small discussion groups.