Sunday, June 29, 2008


I have been making some progress toward my goal of reading the Bible cover to cover, and I am happy to say that I am done with the book of Judges. It was really a relief to finish that book because it was violent and ugly. I have been trying to think positively about why it is included. I suppose it serves as a reminder that times have been hard in the past and people of God have had incompetent rulers, but made it through anyway. It also provides examples of how God uses unlikely and frankly broken people (I am convinced that Samson either was not so bright or had a death wish). These are definitely not children's stories, and I think it's unfortunate that I read them as a child.

One of the reasons I attend a Quaker meeting is because I believe that God continues to speak to us. I love sitting in silent worship when I can be centered enough to wait for a message. I generally hope that the message will come from someone else instead of through me, but I try to be open to the idea that God may give me something for the group. A meeting is made up of members, and what happens during a meeting depends a lot on who is there. For me, hearing others speak at meeting is similar to reading the Bible. The messages are presumably from God and some I know immediately are directly for me, while others are not. And sometimes there are lovely and profound truths that stay with me.

Meeting this morning did not start well. The Friend outside greeting asked me whether this was my first time at University Friends Meeting, and I just said no. I thought it would probably make her feel worse if I said I had been attending regularly for over a year. This happens almost every week. I was complaining about it to a Friend recently, and she said that she thinks it is a problem for unprogrammed meetings in general because we do not have the structures other religious communities have for getting to know each other. Although I know that the person asking whether I am new means well, it is alienating each time.

But when I got inside, people were singing for the second week in a row, which always puts me in a better mood. And the meeting that followed was beautiful. Several people spoke, bringing messages about passion, acceptance, faith, love, gifts, and community. It was exactly what I have been longing to hear at University Friends, and I felt like laughing and crying as I listened.

Another reason I am glad to be done with Judges is because it means I will be getting to the story of Samuel soon. I have always loved this story, especially the part where God speaks to Samuel for the first time. It reminds me that God can speak to anyone, even a child. It takes courage to listen to God and courage to tell others when we hear God's voice, however that may occur. I also love the simplicity of Eli's instructions: If the voice calls again, say, "Speak, God. I'm your servant, ready to listen." (Samuel 3:9).

1 comment:

  1. Best wishes in your quest. It took me two years to finally finish the Old Testament. The New Testament I read and re-read over and over, but the Old Testament....well, a bit challenging. I always had to just stop and wait a while. Then I'd pick it up again. Parts are so very unpleasant.

    Now that I've finally finished, I'm delving into the Apocrypha and other "books" that weren't included in what we call the Bible. So very interesting...

    Good luck.

    PS I'm a fairly recently (1 year ago) convinced Quaker. It's always nice to meet another Friend.


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