One of the things I like about being a Quaker is that virtually anywhere I go in the world, I get to meet up with other Quakers, or Friends, as we like to be known. I still remember how earlier this fall in Sweden I got to meet up with Janet, a Quaker from Lund (who Lirou pointed out immediately in the crowd and said, “She looks Quaker.” And really Janet did have a peaceful calm about her.)
After an overnight flight that got into Edinburgh at 7:00 in the morning a week ago Sunday, I stumbled into the Quaker meeting in the city center. No one even had to speak to me. It felt just like home. What a great way to start a trip, to sit in silent worship with Friends. It centered me and spoke deeply to me. After worship, Alastair, one of the members, bounded over to greet me. “I know you from Joe’s podcast!” (It is a small Quaker world)
This past Sunday I attended a much smaller meeting in Dunblane. A lesbian couple had come down from the far North for their civil partnership and a marriage ceremony at the meeting. These two had been members of Dunblane meeting before they moved north. They also had spent time in jail because of peace activism.
Of course I knew none of these details at the beginning of meeting. Their story unfolded as Friends shared messages about the woman and to the women. Love, appreciation, affirmation, respect flowed from the messages.
I sat, letting God scan my heart and mind, knowing that God knows better than I do what I need. Being in the presence of greatness–God, these two women, these Friends–I felt confident that just being there, I would change and grow and become a better person.
I entered the meeting into a collected group of strangers, but by the end of meeting, when we greeted each other as is the custom, I shook hands with friends.
(Photos are of the cathedral in Dunblane across the street from the little room where the Quakers meet)