Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 20th November 2022
Dear Friends, There are lots of major issues being played out this moment, which I doubt I have the wisdom to address: the budget and its effects especially on the … Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 20th November 2022
There are lots of major issues being played out this moment, which I doubt I have the wisdom to address: the budget and its effects especially on the poor in our society, COP27, extreme poverty in Africa and elsewhere, war in Ukraine – the list goes on. Our spiritual development is on one level a very personal preoccupation about our own well-being and wholeness, but as it involves love for others it cannot be restricted solely to ourselves, our kin and those we come into daily contact with. So how do we find the balance between the local and universal in expressing that love? With this as background, I fell yet again to looking at Chapter 23 of Quaker Faith and Practice. Of the many pertinent passages, I was struck by 23.04, written by Eva Pinthus in 1987
The duty of the Society of Friends is to be the voice of the oppressed but [also] to be conscious that we ourselves are part of that oppression. Uncomfortably we stand with one foot in the kingdom of this world and with the other in the Eternal Kingdom. Seldom can we keep the inward and outward working of love in balance, let alone the consciousness of living both in time and in eternity, in timelessness. Let us not be beguiled into thinking that political action is all that is asked of us, nor that our personal relationship with God excuses us from actively confronting the evil in this world. The political and social struggles must be waged, but a person is more and needs more than politics, else we are in danger of gaining the whole world but losing our souls.
And again one of our queries (in 23.19)
Are you working towards the removal of social injustices? Have you attempted to examine their causes objectively, and are you ready to abandon old prejudices and think again? Do you, as disciples of Christ, take a living interest in the social conditions of the district in which you live? Do you seek to promote the welfare of those in any kind of need and a just distribution of the resources of the world?
I don’t believe that we as individuals or even as the Religious Society of Friends can solve all the worlds problems. Nor are we all called to work on the same one. Nor should we wallow in feelings of guilt if our efforts appear too puny. We are challenged, however, to be on the lookout for what opportunities life puts in our way to make the world a more equitable and loving place and to seize them to the best we can.
On behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (Bob Harwood, David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Theresa Samms, Nancy Wall)