Transformed by the Light
Friends will read and reflect upon stories of people who have opened their lives to transformation by Divine Guidance, Christ Within, the Inward Light, and will consider their own willingness or resistance to obedience to the Inner Guide.
Materials and Setup
Materials & Setup:
Before your first session, gather any books available about early and modern Friends. Participants may own books they can share with the group. If the group will be watching the QuakerSpeak videos, you will need internet access or WiFi. Set up the space so that everyone can hear and see. On one of the videos, the words to Paulette Meier’s “Art Thou in the Darkness” are quoted. You can hear Paulette speak of her calling to do this work on another YouTube video, linked below. Her CD, Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong, is available for purchase or download.
Before meeting together for your first session, listen to the QuakerSpeak videos, together or individually, if possible. Ask participants to look for stories of early Friends or Friends today who were transformed by their willingness to submit to Divine Guidance, Christ Within, the Inward Light. Bring these stories to the meeting and share them with the group. You may decide to meet several times to consider this topic so that more stories can be shared and reflected upon.
- Follow this link to a Friends Journal article featuring stories of four Friends who followed the Light: Edward Coxere (1600’s), Joseph Ritter (1700’s), Anthony Benezet, (1700’s), and Bayard Rustin, late 20th century. http://www.friendsjournal.org/quakers-culture-and-the-transforming-power-of-love/
- Here is another link, to the “Quakers in the World” website, on which you will find stories of dozens of Friends–http://www.quakersintheworld.org/quakers-in-action/who.html
Suggestions from the “Quakers in the World” website:
- Margaret Fell – 1614 – April 23, 1702
- Elizabeth Fry – 1780 – 1845
- Mary Dyer – 1611 – 1660
- George Fox – 1624 – 1691
- Rufus Jones – 1863-1948
- James Nayler – 1618 – 1660
- John Woolman – 1720 – 1772
- Here is a link to the timeline on the “Quakers in Action” website. By scrolling across the timeline, left to right or vice versa, you will find the names of Friends from the 1600’s to the present. Clicking on any name will open that person’s story.
Here are two QuakerSpeak videos that may help to illumine the experience of being open to and transformed by the Light, Seed, Christ working in us.
Quakers and the Inner Light – QuakerSpeak Video – 7 minutes
“What is ’the Light,’ and why are Quakers so excited about it? Several Friends speak from their own experience.
How Quakerism Began – QuakerSpeak Video – 4 ½ minutes
Max Carter shares the story of George Fox, a Quaker who went seeking for spiritual answers and found them not in a church, but within.
Paulette Meier: Quaker Faith in Song – QuakerSpeak Video – 6 ½ minutes
Paulette Meier sings songs from early Quaker Quotes. The act of creating music from Quaker spiritual writings helped Paulette through a difficult time in her life. These songs are unlike anything you’ve ever heard.
You can listen to parts of each of her 22 songs here, and purchase the CD or download any part of it.
Sharing the stories:
Plan which stories to share during each session. It may be well to choose only two or three to share at any one meeting. Begin by settling into worship for about 10 minutes, followed by sharing of the first story. After hearing the story, consider these queries or others as seem appropriate.
- If you were this person, living in their time and place, what inner struggles would you have with being faithful to Divine Guidance?
- What inner and outer obstacles did this person face?
- Did they pay a price for their faithfulness?
- What did they have to give up?
- How did the world respond to them?
- What strengthened them to be faithful?
- What part do you think worship played?
- What are your own resistances to submitting to the Light Within?
- When have you been more open to obedience?
Credits: Connie McPeak Green (LEYM) and Elise Hansard (BYM), Exercise Authors