I’ve been reflecting recently on three religious archetypes: the Seeker, the Finder, and the Pilgrim. Seekers, it seems to me, are in search for what they have not yet experienced, but suspect must be true, by their own inner hunger and the report of others. Finders know by their own experience and are nourished by it, but often become like the disciples at the Transfiguration, wanting to build monuments to what they have experienced and settle down there. Finders can be tempted to stop their seeking. When that happens, they can shut themselves off from continuing revelation.
In the context of my own Quaker faith, I have often called myself a Finder rather than a Seeker. Recently I feel that more truly I am a Pilgrim. I seek what I have already tasted in part; but I must always be still “on the way” because I know what I’ve found cannot be my final destination. The reality of the living covenant relationship cannot be sustained if I try to freeze or preserve it in a permanent configuration. Living relationships mature and grow deeper as they are nurtured and sustained over time, and this must be true of one’s faith commitments and relationship with God as well. My relationship with God is rooted in the historic roots of Quakerism, and I do not expect that it will ever take a shape that denies those roots – but roots are not branches, or leaves and fruit, and to be alive that relationship must be growing in ways that God only reveals to us from moment to moment, not in advance. I have found some precious Truth in the past 50 years, and I claim and proclaim it joyfully. But what I have found can never be all that God is or that God offers us. So I am still (always) a pilgrim: I know where I’ve been and I know to Whom I am going, but this place where I am now is not my destination.
(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the apprentice authors, and not official statements of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) or Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) of the Religious Society of Friends.)