Quakerism and especially Quaker meeting for worship are a lot like video games, particularly, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) like World of Warcraft.
Warcraft and Quakers???? Although I am a novice at World of Warcraft, I see many similarities between the Quaker world and the quest to drive out evil from the mythical land of Azeroth (mythical to most but more real than this world for many).
In MMORPG games like World of Warcraft, players log onto the internet and then enter an alternate reality. At first they begin to move around in that world, discovering it and exploring it for themselves. Once they know their way around, they pick up tools, gifts, abilities, roles and most importantly of all, they make friends.
These are not imaginary friends, but real-life people, perhaps thousands of miles away (or right next door), who also have entered the game. These friends join up to form groups and then their groups grow. Finally together with their shared resources, knowledge, gifts and abilities, they face challenges, quests and evils greater than any one of them could face alone. (I know this is a VERY basic simplistic view of the game. For those of you gamers out there reading this forgive me for the generalizations)
In meeting for worship yesterday in Dunblane (Western Scotland Monthly Meeting), the regular attenders and members grieved over the news that one of their long-term Dunblane Friends, a woman in her 80’s who was on holiday in southern England, had a terrible accident and now lies paralyzed in hospital.
In response, the children wrote cards, the members recorded a tape with greetings from each one child and adult present, they made plans to visit, to send cards to the hospital staff and to enter into silent worship with this dear Friend so many miles away now restricted to a bed, perhaps for the rest of her life.
Quakers face many challenges and “evils” both global and personal–poverty, racism, wars, loneliness, fear, feelings of inadequacy. Most are too great to take on ourselves, and even too much for discussion initially, but we can enter an alternative universe, a place of quiet, of stillness, of contemplation. Regardless our nearness or distant, we can come together in our mystic communion and face the challenges together that would crush us alone.