Friends World Committee for Consultation - Europe & Middle East Section

Pre-Triennial study booklet: Being Faithful Witnesses: Serving God in a Changing World

Contents

14. Building a Foundation for Peaceful Witness

Val Liveoak South Central Yearly Meeting

I have often felt weak when I have tried to speak Truth to the powers of the modern world. When I think of the faithful witness of Friends who went before my generation, I often wonder, ‘What did they have that I don’t?’

Slowly, I have come to learn some of the things that earlier Friends knew. I came to Friends after a wide search of religious options, so I had studied the Bible to some degree, but as an unprogrammed Friend I have only occasionally consulted it. Although quite familiar with the gospels, I have recently been awestruck at the power of the language of the Hebrew prophets, and I resolve to study this resource for the perspective it can give me on God’s power and grace.

I also see the need to strengthen my own prayer life, to develop more spaces of quiet communion with God amid all the noise of the modern world. That discipline is hard for me to cultivate, yet my efforts that are not grounded in it have been shallow and dry.

George Fox and his companions in the Valiant Sixty discovered how to corporately seek God’s will and to act upon it. In my work with Friends Peace Teams, I have struggled to find the corporate leading of the Spirit. As a member of a highly individualistic culture, this has been a hard lesson to learn. I have had enough experience with the power that comes to actions based in Friends’ corporate discernment to know I want to work at building a meeting community where the way of prayerful waiting for God’s leading is the basis for decision-making. I have seen quite clearly the relationship between the roots of the work and its fruits in the development of our projects in Africa and the exploratory work in Colombia. The practices handed down from earlier generations need reviving and refining to give us the faith and power of early Friends. As our work progresses, I pray that we will learn to seek God’s guidance personally, as a group and from scripture, and that that will offer us the power spoken of in Acts 1: 8.

Queries:

- What do you do when you feel weak in responding to God’s call?

- What is your source of strength in being a faithful witness?

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