Answering God – 40 Days with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
It wants but a few days to Lent 2020 and time for me to attempt to send out a daily email for the coming forty days of devotion.
This year I will be writing a daily reflection on the ‘Advices and Queries’ used by the Society of Friends as a guide for their personal and common life.
Each day will include a reading of one of the ‘Advices and Queries’ and an appropriate Scripture passage followed by a short reflection and suggestions for prayer and action.
I do this hesitantly as I have much admiration for their common life and my experience of Meeting House worship is extremely limited. So I ask forgiveness of any readers if I accidentally misrepresent or do not explain fully the meaning of the words.
If you would like to continue to receive these reflections please subscribe to this blog
May you have a blessed and fruitful Lent
Andrew Dotchin – Felixstowe
Advices & Queries – from the Introduction
Advices and Queries are not a call to increased activity by each individual Friend but a reminder of the insights of the Society. Within the community there is a diversity of gifts. We are all therefore asked to consider how far the advices and queries affect us personally and where our own service lies. There will also be diversity of experience, of belief and of language. Friends maintain that expressions of faith must be related to personal experience. Some find traditional Christian language full of meaning; some do not. Our understanding of our own religious tradition may sometimes be enhanced by insights of other faiths. The deeper realities of our faith are beyond precise verbal formulation and our way of worship based on silent waiting testifies to this.
Our diversity invites us both to speak what we know to be true in our lives and to learn from others. Friends are encouraged to listen to each other in humility and understanding, trusting in the Spirit that goes beyond our human effort and comprehension. So it is for the comfort and discomfort of Friends that these advices and queries are offered, with the hope that we may all be more faithful and find deeper joy in God’s service.
Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
(Postscript to an epistle to ‘the brethren in the north’ issued by a meeting of elders at Balby, 1656)