It’s absurd, I know, but some times I am hesitant to ask Friends where they stand on issues or to share their thoughts with me. They are all nice enough, but it seems we all don’t have so much in common some days and stand for what we do not believe more than what we do. At times I feel alone viewing Christ as my Center. I do not want to bend someone’s nose or cause them to be uncomfortable or even possibly be angry, but I’m curious if I am a lone Friend living with a joyful belief of daily inner baptism and communion with the Lord and one another?
I know, I know...many of you will think I am ignorant. I respect we all differ and do not feel the need for outward symbols of these daily inward realities. I do not feel they are outwardly necessary either. But are they realities to us as a society or to any Friends anymore inwardly, is my burning question.
Here’s the thing. I awake each morning and I’m not carrying around a truck load of guilt, but by midmorning, I can realistically count my short-comings. It’s a daily adventure. I think about the body and the blood each day. And not a day goes by I don’t think about the ever-present baptism in the Spirit; that non-stop cleansing fountain. I think of it as a journey of grace with a love that bubbles up with laughter for the daily gifts, to be intimately cleansed in the water and to sip the cup, feast on the sacrifice given.
Perhaps I am odd. A definate quirk. I was raised in a Christian church that practiced these outward symbols. I did participate at the time, but I never felt them required to be a friend of God. I was happy. I now attend a Quaker meeting and of course, we do not practice these things. I am happy. I guess in truth, my position has not changed on this one item since being that itty bitty little girl in the back pew chewing gum and swinging her legs to and fro. I did those outward practices, felt I was loved and accepted not by the ritual, but by the Lover of my Soul. To me, it was reality and already done for my soul. The seed was planted back then and I knew I yearned to simply to live it daily. Adjusting to Friend’s ways in this just felt right.
I come for my own reasons to worship as an unprogrammed Friend, but I do not come out of a resentful background. Likewise, when reading some literature on the Society of Friends for the first time, I was not horrified, as some of my Christian cohorts seem to be with this non-necessity. Instead, I rather saw it as a blessing of freedom to be offered to and accept the gift anew each day. I was quite relieved when reading Jack Wilcut's book Why Friends are Friends, that I could identify with his position being similar to mine. So I shyly and hesitantly inquire, do any Friends out there have a voice on the spiritual sacraments?