Quaker Worship

Deep within there is a place
Beyond the reach of time and space,
Where worries pale and demons flee
Confronted by Eternity. 

And some one there who calls my name
Tells me like Him to be the same,
The body’s death is not a loss
When soul finds life upon the cross. 

There is no need for spoken word
Where Christ’s own voice within is heard.
No choir’s hymn, no organ’s chord
But soundless anthems from the Lord 

As received by Conrad Lindes 4/1/2019

Greed in Government?

In the wee hours of this morning, I could not sleep. I felt oppressed by the flaws of our political state. Politicians of both major parties are running up a huge national debt. Their primary concern seems to be to keep themselves in office, not by earning majority votes by voting for laws that benefit the majority of citizens, but by using bribes and kickbacks from special interests to buy votes with “earmarks” for those special interests and with “entitlement” programs which, in the guize of helping the less fortunate really addict them to government largess. Surely the end result of this way of doing things is the bankruptcy of our nation, with terrible suffering for all.

What, I wondered, can I do to help turn things around? How can I be part of the solution? Then I asked myself, am I part of the problem?

The underlying motive of our current national politics is the desire of people to get income that they have not earned through producing goods and services of true value. This desire has a name – GREED. Yes, Senators and Representatives seem, more often than not, to be greedy. The businesses and organizations which lobby them are certainly greedy. But what about people on welfare? Aren’t they taking income without producing things of equal value? What about me, on Social Security? What am I producing of value? And what does all this have to do with my claim to be a follower of Christ?

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemiesMat 14:19 Isn’t greed also and evil, which comes from our hearts? Isn’t there greed in my heart?

Dear Lord, with your Light that shines in my heart, let me see my own greed and rid me of it. Then show me how to turn others to that Light so that they, too, can see and let go their greed. Help me to articulate the peace and joy that are the reward of submission to baptism of Christ, that washes away greed and other evil and makes us able to live together, each as a unique and essential part of His body.

You can’t make me!

“You can’t make me!” I would screech at my big brother when he tried to boss me around.   He would order me to do some chore of his, or to do something foolish so that he could laugh at me, or in some other way seek to rule over me.   My resistance was not just that I did not want to do what he told me, but that I refused to acknowledge that he had any valid authority to give me orders at all.    “You’re not my father!”  I would holler.

Now that I am grown up, though, do I accede to the jurisdiction of the world and its “powers” over my life without a thought, let alone without rebellion?   I get so many orders from this benighted world’s wisdom.   “Be dishonest,” “Be impatient,” “Be judgemental,”  “Get revenge,” and so on.   So many other people, in all walks of life, set an example for obeying such commands.    But then I turn to the light, the Truth.

The author of these orders is not my father.  Why should I listen to him?   He is not even my big brother!    But I do have a Father in heaven, and He tells me His way for me to live: “Be honest,” Be patient,” Do not judge,” “Forgive!”   And I have a big brother who is right here at my side at every moment, not do put me down, but to lift me up, as He himself was lifted up in complete obedience to our Father.  That big brother, Jesus Christ, wants nothing less than for me to be joyfully with Him in the care of that loving Father.

Next time a command comes from the darkness that wants to dominate my heart, let me shout in defiance, “You can’t make me!” and turn to the Light.