Meeting for Worship for Business
Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business -Advices from IMYM Faith & Practice
Friends, keep your meetings in the power of God, and in his wisdom
(by which all things were made) and in the love of God, that
by that ye may order all to his glory. And when Friends have finished
their business, sit down and continue awhile quietly and
wait upon the Lord to feel him. And go not beyond the Power, but
keep in the Power by which God Almighty may be felt among you.
-George Fox, 1658
Discussions of Friends’ processes often get twisted up in “nots,” and the meeting for business is no exception: we do not vote, we do not debate, we do not follow parliamentary procedures, and so on. How much harder is it to speak positively! The meeting for business is a meeting for discernment. At the meeting for business, the community gathers under the guidance of the Spirit, attempting to make decisions in unity.
All of the curiosities of Friends’ practice stem from this: the community is led by the Spirit, and the Spirit works through the whole community. Imagine a knotty issue as a complicated work of three-dimensional art. What is obvious at first glance to one person is not at all evident to someone else. So gradually we walk around it, different ones of us bringing aspects of the work to the attention of the community, and as we do, we come to a fuller understanding. We undertake the walk together, we consider each aspect together, and as our understanding grows, so does our ability to work together for a solution. The Light shines from all directions. Our knowledgeable Guide whispers in our ear, pointing out new vantages. We become closer, more of a community, more able to put our guidance into action together.