As the clocks in time zones change all over the world, Friends are getting ready for Meeting for Worship. Some are entering traditional stone Meetinghouses, with wide wood floors and worn benches, apparent simplicity all around. Others are filing into newer buildings or even homes, all having one goal in common. They have gathered to be still and listen; to seek the Light together and what may be revealed to them as individuals and collectively as a body. Over the past two years, I have pondered and experimented weekly with the idea that if Friends seek this Light and meet anywhere, could one meet this way in cyberspace?
Who is to say what in what context worship is authentic and where it is not. There are many aspects of meeting, worship and fellowship to consider. I am grateful for the Light’s guidance in my life. Yet, I certainly do not presume to be an authority on the Quaker faith and of it’s many changes and dimensions, but attempt only to share my evolving experience and how the Holy Spirit is leading in my life; how I have found others to share this worth while spiritual journey with.
Some may say the cyberworld is too complex and odd a medium to recreate Quaker fellowship in. Truth be told, I don’t think it replaces a local, physical meeting, but may help meet some of the needs of isolated Friends, those home due to chronic illness, seekers and those just wiling to experiment outside of the box, so to speak. There are differences in that one lacks the visual, voice, those innuendoes that help one identify and connect with ease. Internationally, there are language barriers to overcome and thus room for potential misunderstandings. Some have said that one does not truly ever get to know who one is communicating with and that there is no accountability or ability for this to work. To all this, I offer my experience to date and George Fox’s well known words, “Let us see what love can do.”
Quaker Faith and Fellowship as a internet entity is paving the way by joining hands with other providers, starting with offering Meeting for Worship 7 days per week. There is ability to schedule Meetings for specific times as well to ensure others will gather and seek unprogramed worship together. Much fellowship is offered through “tea and coffee” chat and the forum. There is plenty of discussion, connections and bonding to experience and knowledge to be shared. Individuals are encouraged to speak of their concerns to the community and to hold one another in the Light.
This process is unfolding similarly to physical meeting and members may look forward to emulating it through aspects as they are led. We have MfW in two locations, www.openfaithandfellowship.com and http://quakerworship.org. I prefer to continue to participate in this experience, not with the differences in mind, but with the commonality and similarities as well as the uniqueness as it unfolds. I desire to live it with an open hand and heart. After all, “Where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20)
I challenge all to consider this verse and the freedom it represents to us to experiment with varying mediums we have within our ability now and in the future, that may meet the needs of some Friends and as outreach capabilities and not to divide, but rather to unite Quaker internet entities. The Spirit will guide us across international lines and time zones. This awesome and powerful Light within will show us the way if we allow it to. So, I conclude with gratitude for all members, welcomed visitors and future members to come, to grab hold of this authenticity, embrace it and continue on in our sharing and our spiritual journeys at www.quakerfaithandfellowship.org and all other Friends sites, as we are one society. All are welcome.