Link to recorded session:
Inspiration shared by participants:
From Rainer Maria Rilke
You must give birth to your images.
They are the future waiting to be born.
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you
long before it happens.
Just wait for the birth,
for the hour of new clarity.
by Denise Levertov
The tree of knowledge was the tree of reason.
That’s why the taste of it
drove us from Eden. That fruit
was meant to be dried and milled to a fine powder
for use a pinch at a time, a condiment.
God had probably planned to tell us later
about this new pleasure.
We stuffed our mouths full of it,
gorged on but and if and how and again
but, knowing no better.
It’s toxic in large quantities; fumes
swirled in our heads and around us
to form a dense cloud that hardened to steel,
a wall between us and God, Who was Paradise.
Not that God is unreasonable – but reason
in such excess was tyranny
and locked us into its own limits, a polished cell
reflecting our own faces. God lives
on the other side of that mirror,
but through the slit where the barrier doesn’t
quite touch ground, manages still
to squeeze in – as filtered light,
splinters of fire, a strain of music heard
then lost, then heard again.
From Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Letters & Papers from Prison”
What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us, today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience – and that means the time of religion in general. We are moving towards a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious anymore. Even those who honestly describe themselves as “religious” do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by “religious.”
The Way It Is
by William Stafford
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen, people get hurt
or die, and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
From “The General Dance,” (last chapter in “New Seeds of Contemplation” by Thomas Merton).
What is serious to humanity is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what the Divine takes most seriously. At any rate, God plays and diverts herself in the garden of her creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear the call and follow God in the mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash–at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the “newness,” the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
For the world and time are the dance of Divine Mystery in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.
Suggested Quaker T-shirt mottos
- Listening deeply since 1650
- Peace, Love, and Light: Quakers, Long-haired Hippies Since the 1650’s
- Stay Calm and Listen On
- Fight Might with Light