Friends World Committee for Consultation - Europe & Middle East Section

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

Contents

1. Faithful waiting on God

David Blamires (Editor) Britain Yearly Meeting

It has been a pleasant and rewarding task for me to edit these contributions to the Triennial theme, Being faithful witnesses: serving God in a changing world. Each contributor writes from his or her own particular Quaker experience and cultural background with gratitude and mutual encouragement, discoveries and questions. We can be thankful for these searching responses to the Triennial theme. I hope that every reader will be able to resonate to the spirit of what each contributor has written, as there are challenges for us all.

What has been most striking for me is the recognition that we are united in so much. Central to our witness are the individual and corporate quest for peace and justice and the testimonies to truthfulness, simplicity and equality. These are the fruits of faithful waiting on God. Jesus tells us that ‘the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world’ will be inherited by those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and those in prison (Matt.25: 31-40). Those who fail to do this reap condemnation.

These are the challenges of daily life. Though some may be called to serve God in distant places and testing circumstances, the majority of us are called to be faithful witnesses just where we are, through our jobs, our family and other responsibilities and our contact with the earth and other living beings. Life is big enough for everybody to have a contribution to make, but it is too big for each of us to do everything. We need to value each other for our differing gifts and insights, recognizing that we are different members of one body, each with a special task (Romans 12: 1-21).

In 2002, in the 350th anniversary year of the beginning of Quakerism, the Bank of England in Britain has singled out the work of Elizabeth Fry in prison reform by putting a picture of her on the new five-pound note. When she was first led to do this work, Elizabeth Fry was uncertain and fearful, but she was faithful to her Guide. We in our turn are called to be faithful in the tasks God lays upon us. They are tasks that we shall never complete in this life.

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