Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 27th August 2023
Dear Friends, … our existence is still enchanted; in hundreds ofplaces it is still untouched, a play of pure forceswhich no one can touch without kneeling and adoring.Words still go … Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 27th August 2023
… our existence is still enchanted; in hundreds ofplaces it is still untouched, a play of pure forces which no one can touch without kneeling and adoring. Words still go softly towards the inexpressible and music, ever new, builds from trembling stones its house of prayer in unexploitable space. Translated from the German of R M Rilke
One of our late members wrote: I think the reason why music now means so much more to me than it did in the past is because listening to it has become a spiritual experience, as it is for Rilke. I have a lot of trouble with words to express religious experience, but music seems to be the language of the soul which reaches further into the mystery of existence than words can ever do – as Rilke so beautifully points out. As I listen to Pärt and Tavener I forget where I am in time and space and lose myself in the music. I feel that in both those composers the silence is as important as the music and makes me aware that silence is the backdrop against which all sound exists. The cello piece at the end of the Protecting Veil hardly seems to disturb the silence – it is like a gentle ripple over the face of eternity. All this has made me think about Quakerism and silence. I have always assumed that we are sitting waiting for some intimation of God to come through the silence, but perhaps God is the silence, just as God is nothingness. Silence and nothingness are empty yet full of the potential of everything, the source of everything. And of course we can’t experience pure silence any more than we can experience nothingness, we can only reach out towards them. I decided to stop agonising over who or what God is, what I do or don’t believe, and to think about the ways in which God participates in my life, how my life would be different if I did not feel that God played a part. So I made a list of all the ways in which I feel my life has changed since having a ‘God dimension’ and was surprised at how comprehensive and positive it was.
David, on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Caroline Pybus, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall)