700 Let your life speak & Saint Valentine's Day
Day 700 Monday, February 14, 2022
Let your life speak & Saint Valentine's Day
Yesterday Ed and Mary concelebrated a very thought-provoking liturgy. They had us ponder:
"we see that Emmaus, as a small intentional faith community, is a new way of being church. Two thousand years ago, Jesus said, "Follow me." What if the 21st-century Church actually heeded that call? What would the world look like if the Church were truly on the move? Simply put, very different."
Our celebrants asked us to look at our faith through the lens of Quaker spirituality. Here's the YouTube link to the video by Quaker Arthur Larrabee Mary and Ed presented at the beginning of the celebration. Of his video, Larrabee says " As a lifelong Quaker, I was frustrated that I couldn’t answer the question, “What do Quakers believe?” So he set out to do just that with this brief and wonderful presentation:
9 Core Quaker Beliefs - The transcript from the video:
In attempting to name what I believe are core principles, or core beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends as understood by unprogrammed Quakers, I’m hoping that we would move in the direction of strengthening our faith practice, and strengthening our faith practice with each other and be more clear and affirming of what we’re able to say to the world, what we’re able to carry out into the world.
1. There is a living, dynamic, spiritual presence at work in the world which is both within us and outside of us.
Quakers use many names to describe this spiritual presence. Among the names we use are God, spirit, the light, the inward light, the inner light, Christ, truth, love.
2. There is that of God in everyone.
This statement of belief is similar to the first statement, and Quakers will talk about there being that of God in everyone, and it is the belief that the creator has endowed each person with a measure of the divine essence, and that as a consequence, all of life is sacred and interconnected.
3. Each person is capable of the direct and unmediated experience of God.
Our belief leads us into a form of worship that does not rely on clergy or liturgy or creed. Rather, we come together in the silence. We sometimes refer to our worship as “waiting worship.” Waiting to hear—listen for—the still, small voice within, and listening for that of God—the still, small voice—speaking to us.
4. Our understanding and experience of God is nurtured and enlarged in community.
When we come together in community, each of us brings our own manifestation of the divine energy. When we come together in community, we experience and embrace our diversity; we experience a much larger understanding and vision of God.
5. The Bible is an important spiritual resource, and the life and teachings of Jesus are relevant for us today.
For many of us, the Bible is an inspired record of humankind’s interaction with God through the ages. Quakers find that the truth and the teachings found in the Bible are an inspiration for daily living and also an inspiration for our worship together.
6. The revelation of God’s truth is continuing and ongoing.
Quakers are very clear that the revelation of God’s truth did not end with the writing of the Bible. We believe that God has continued to reveal God’s truth and make God’s will and energy, truth—known to humankind down through the ages, down to the present day.
7. We welcome truth from whatever source it may come.
We find that our experience of worship and our experience of the Divine is enriched by welcoming truth from different sources. We welcome spiritual truth from different sources.
8. Our inward experience of God transforms us and leads us into outward expressions of faithful living, witness, and action.
Individually and collectively, we witness to God’s presence in our lives by the way we live our lives and the way we model God’s truth in the world. One of the consequences of listening for the inward voice and being led into outward expressions of faithful living and witness and action are Quaker testimonies. Testimonies that are well known today are testimonies of simplicity and peace and integrity, community, equality and stewardship.
9. Modeling God’s presence in our lives is more important than espousing beliefs.
Quakers believe that the way we live our lives is of much more importance than what we say. There’s an old Quaker expression, “Let your life speak” and that’s very much a part of Quakerism: the understanding that the way we model God’s truth in our lives is to let our lives speak it.
Shared Homily: Discussion Question
● What should the church and/or our Emmaus community be moving towards?
● Do the Quaker guidelines help us to visualize that?
Saint Valentine of Dublin
If you ever have a chance to visit Whitefriar street in Dublin City, do take a few moments to head into the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The chances are that you will not be alone. It is likely that you'll see a few couples through the day - stopping at a shrine on the right side of the church. This is where you will find the remains, and relics, of Saint Valentine - many couples come here through the year to ask for his guidance in their lives together.
Maybe you have visited already? So, how did these relics arrive in this part of the world? Well, that's a story for another day - or maybe one you can look up if you are a happy Googler. However, I thought it would be nice to share a story of Saint Valentine.
The Light Comes with a February Flower.
Very little is known about Saint Valentine. In fact, it is unsure as to whether he was a single person or a combination of a few early saints. However, we are not going to let the facts get in the way of a good story! One of my favorite legends of Saint Valentine goes something as follows.
Valentine was a Christian citizen of early Rome who possessed special healing abilities. One day, a jailer arrived to see him, accompanied by his young daughter who had been blind from birth. He had heard of Valentine's healing powers, and was wondering if he could cure even this permanent situation. Well, Valentine gave the man ointment for her eyes and asked for her to return each week. Over time, he also became a teacher to the little girl - he described the world around them, and the world of books - and over time she learned to see the world through his eyes. Even though the little girl's sight was never restored during this time, the girl and her father returned each week. One week, Valentine was no longer there - he had been arrested for his religious beliefs, and his medicines were destroyed by the authorities. He had also been sentenced to death.
From his prison cell, Valentine wrote one last note to his little friend - and handed it to the jailer for his daughter. Valentine was executed the following morning. The jailer went home and gave this note to his little girl. She opened it and felt a flower inside - and, as the little girl pointed her eyes down to the flower in her hand, she saw the brilliant colors of a yellow crocus flower for the first time in her life! Her eyesight had been restored.
She asked her father to read the message. All it said was: "From your Valentine." And so we have the tradition of giving tokens of friendship and love at this time of the year. Now, isn't that a story worth believing? Perhaps all those couples in Whitefriars church in Dublin are looking for a similar light in their life together.