The Bus Stop People24 April 2013 | By andrena in Friends, General, grace, Healing
Ever since I can remember, I have been involved with “interfaith” activities. Growing up I think I have practiced quite a few traditions, and denominations. I enjoy open, honest, respectful dialogue. Not to tear others faith traditions down…but to understand and learn.
It is in that process, where we find how much alike we are, rather than how different we are.
There was one tradition, I have always wanted to explore…and hadn’t, until recently. And that was a Quaker meeting. As you probably already know, I enjoy silence. I like being alone with my own thoughts (because I am around so many people all the time)…and I am embracing God’s small still voice, which comes most profoundly to me, in the silence.
Because I am a pastor, and have my own services, attending Quaker meetings is not something I can do on the spur of the moment. I have to wait until I am on vacation. I visited one Quaker meeting last year, through a friend. It was well attended, and very relaxing. As it was my first one, I enjoyed the silence, but quite honestly found myself nodding a few times. I don’t think I was open for the Spirit that time. But I will say, that I really felt welcomed at the end.
This past week, I attended a different one.
Our Meeting for Worship takes place at 10:30 every First Day (Sunday) morning. Ours is an unprogrammed meeting, meaning that the worship service centers on an expectant silence. The basis for this is the Quaker belief that each person has the capacity to know directly the will of God, without the interpretation of an intermediary. The goal of our corporate worship is to enter the divine presence. The silence may be broken when a worshiper feels moved to rise and speak out of spiritual experience. Silence follows messages as Friends reflect on what has been said. Often other messages follow the first. It is possible – and quite acceptable – for a meeting to pass entirely in silence, but messages from the Spirit, through Friends, are the most tangible part of our worship together. Meeting for Worship is not the only time Friends look for “that of God” in everyone: we strive to keep that expectation foremost in all our dealings with others. Attending Meeting for Worship is how we prepare ourselves to do that for the rest of the week. – from Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting
Totally different experience, but it was at this place where Spirit revealed some things to me.
After the meeting, I went to the mantle where this particular sculpture was, to get a look…and to take a picture. A gentleman walked up to me, and after introductions, asked: “did you pick it up”? I went to pick up the figure that was standing, thinking “my this is ..ugh… n..n..nIIICE! UGH!
I could hardly lift it!!!!
He told me it was made of bronze. And proceeded to tell me its backstory:
It was made by a woman while, in her 80′s. She was at least 80 years old when she made it, and presented it as a gift, to the Meeting House. He told me that her family were NOT Quakers, and they couldn’t understand why she was spending her time and money on it. He told me, they called it: ‘People at the Bus Stop’… or something like that. I laughed! Because while I was sitting in the room, my eyes would occasionally rest upon the folks upon the mantle. Bus stop never crossed my mind.
I saw it for exactly what it was meant to be… a Quaker meeting. Folks sitting on a bench, and one person standing revealing what the Spirit had give them to say.
And yet, here is another revelation: Isn’t life like a bus-stop?
We journey through it, hopping on and off at different destinations. Sometimes we sit, sometimes we stand. Sometimes we get on the wrong bus, and are seemingly taken out of our way. Sometimes we end up in places we didn’t plan on…but eventually all is made right, if we simply go back to the bus-stop and wait for the next bus coming.
Yes, there is grace in waiting at the bus stop….all we have to do, is get on.