“We are met in a great task when we meet in worship, no less than to realize the Divine Presence and to create an atmosphere in which that Presence and Power can touch us into fuller life.
“Once we remember this, we cannot but approach the occasion with reverent humility and the desire that nothing on our part may hinder or disturb.
“It is something holy and wonderful we are trying to build up together— the consciousness of the Presence with us here and the reality of communion with God.”
Quaker Press of FGC
As we enter the 2nd week of Advent of 2012, I am drawn to finally post again after a long delay due to a recent move from CA to PA. Above is the quote that I found outside the William Penn Charter School, in Philadelphia, PA, founded in 1689 by William Penn, making it the oldest Quaker school in the world. You pass this quote as you enter the Meeting House for Worship inside the main building. Presently, I am teaching at Westtown School, a Quaker boarding school founded in 1799 in West Chester, PA. I am hoping Westtown will post something similar to this outside or inside their Meeting House. I have not been able to find an author other than Friends General Conference.
I am struck by the profound simplicity and truth of these words during this time of Advent, this time of waiting for the Divine Presence to enter fully into the world in the person of Jesus Christ. By entering into the world fully, Divinity becoming human flesh, we are all made Divine. I think these words could be posted on the entrance to almost any house of worship that uses the language of God and Divine Presence. Is it not the task of worship to “realize the Divine Presence?” I am a Catholic Christian now teaching at a Quaker school and though I miss the liturgical structure of my Catholic tradition at Westtown, I am very much appreciative of the Quaker recognition that God is found in the silence of community worship. We are called to nothing less than the communion with God. I can take this message with me on Sunday as I take the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ, to make real this communion with Christ, with God. My prayer during this Advent of 2012 is for all beings (a nod to my Buddhist brothers and sisters who use such wonderfully inclusive language) to awaken to the reality of Divine Presence and help build a community that reflects this reality.
In the Peace of Christ