Its Both/And not Either/Or

Holding the first of four planned residencies for Deeper Roots seems to have helped increase awareness of the work of Broken Vessels Quaker Ministries (BVQM).  With awareness of a new organization and its work comes queries, and even advices.  We love that people are interested enough to ask questions and share their insights with us.  After all, Quakers have used advices and queries to help them grow in spiritual depth as meetings and as individuals for hundreds of years.

This particular blog is in response to questions we have received about what led us to develop a new Quaker program seeking Friends feeling called to deepen their spiritual roots as apprentices in the school of Christ.  There is a concern that f/Friends should be spending much less time turning inward to self-examination and personal relationship with God and Christ, and much more time focusing on helping the oppressed, feeding the hungry and helping take away the occasion of war.

We agree that Quakers should be helping the oppressed, feeding the poor, etc.  We don’t believe that seeking deeper roots with the divine is mutually exclusive of working for peace and justice.  It is both/and, not either/or.  It’s like a newly planted seed.  At the same time the seed breaks open and peeks through the soil, reaching toward the sky, the roots also begin growing, reaching deeper into the life-giving soil.  They both anchor and give sustenance to the seed as it continues to grow upward and out.  That’s how it is in our relationships to the Creator.  We must continue to grow deeper in the Life-giving soil of God’s love and wisdom even as we grow up and outward into the world, eventually growing enough that we can yield whatever fruit we were created to be.

Have you ever tried to pull a mature plant from the ground?  As its roots have grown deeper they have also grown outward, entwining with the roots of other plants. This makes it very difficult to pull them from the ground or apart from each other. This is similar to Friends seeking others with whom to form a faith community (In our case, a Quaker meeting).  During our meetings for worship we (both the meeting as a whole and its individual members and attenders) grow deeper in faith and in discerning what we believe God is asking of us at any given time.  Our personal faith is strengthened by our growing connections with others in the meeting.  We worship together, test leadings together, share ministry and concerns with each other, pray for each other and grow in depth and breadth through God’s Love.  Because we know each other in God’s Love we can be there for each other when we need courage and/or practical help.  And so, with God’s help, we become a “blessed community” and a blessing to the world.  It is possible, but we have to keep seeking to Be Christ’s Love each day, as apprentices to Christ and as fellow Friends in our meetings and yearly meetings.

And how cool is that!



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