Peace in Difficult Circumstances

nottinghamquakers.org.uk image: Young Quakers group

On Wednesday 24th May we had one of our lovely spiritual suppers where we cook, eat, and have funny and deep conversations. I had just finished my exams and it was wonderful to be able to spend the evening with Friends and enjoy my new-found freedom. We made chickpea bolognaise (all of our recipes can be found on a Google document we’re happy to share) with garlic bread with the emphasis on garlic! The meeting house was rearranged for Open University examinations so we ate and had our spiritual session downstairs.

After feasting and sharing our treasured weekly highlights, Jaz led a spiritual session. We had a quick, but detailed history of Quakerism, for a new young Friend, summarising our view that there were three stages in Quaker history. Firstly, crazy George Fox and other founders, followed by a Puritan-style phase ending up with the current day Quakers.

We then read and had creative reflection on a William Penn quote about love and forgiveness (Quaker faith and Practise, 24.03).

A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it… It is as great presumption to send our passions upon God’s errands, as it is to palliate them with God’s name… We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by love and information. And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us then try what Love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.

William Penn, 1693

The discussion that followed included what it meant to forgive and how understanding and communication could play a greater role. We also talked about evil and how force must be applied to fit the situation and not simply be evil in its nature. We applied aspects of the quote to recent events as well as some of our careers and had some very interesting discussions.

Another wonderful evening with the young Friends! (My breath definitely warded off vampires the next day!)

Emily