Answering God – 40 Days with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Day 0 – Shrove Tuesday
Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts.
Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.
(Advices & Queries #1)
From the Scriptures:
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.
(Song of Songs 8v7)
Lent is kept best by lovers, those who have learnt to listen to the promptings of love and truth in [their] hearts.
Lovers are willing, desperate even, to give themselves away to their beloved despite the cost or the sacrifice. It is no accident that the word ‘passion’ stands for both love and suffering.
To keep Lent well will also involve both love and suffering
The suffering that comes with denying ourselves in our battle against ‘the world, the flesh, and the devil’.
The love that comes with letting go of some of the dross of ‘this naughtie world’ as we enter deeper into the embrace of the One Who Loves us Best.
How do we, as we stand on the edge of a 40 Day Date with God, prepare for this ebbing and flowing, this letting go and holding on? Could we take some advice from the lovers in the Song of Songs?
In the days ahead there will be waters and floods made up of busy-ness of life which will try and separate us from our Beloved.
In the days ahead we will be distracted by the promise of riches found when following paths other than the one that leads us closer to The One.
When the floods are at their fullest, when the riches are at their most dazzling, ‘don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mould’ (Romans 12v2), hold on to the cross where our Beloved’s arms are outstretched waiting to embrace us.
This Lent let’s choose to make it all about love.
I thank you for the cruel pains and insults
you have borne for me;
and for the many blessings
you have won for me.
Most merciful Redeemer,
Friend and Brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.
(after Richard of Chichester)
1) Look at your diary between now and Easter and cancel one event.
2) Look at your diary between now and Easter and add one additional time of solitary prayer – preferably in a church building.
Quotes from ‘Advices & Queries’ are copyright © The Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain, 1995, 1997 and 2008
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Prayers are from ‘Prayers for Hard Times’ are copyright © Becca Anderson 2017
These Reflections, ‘Answering God’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2020 – and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged