Saturday, March 23, 2013

Walking cheerfully over the world…

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The Truth is one and the same always, and though ages and generations pass away, and one generation goes and another comes, yet the word and power and spirit of the living God endures for ever, and is the same and never changes.

Margaret Fell – Quaker Faith & Practice 19.61

Your word, Lord, is eternal;
    it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
    you established the earth, and it endures.
Your laws endure to this day,
    for all things serve you.
If your law had not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
    for by them you have preserved my life.

(Psalm 119.89-93)

I take immense comfort in this knowledge of God’s permanence, his being eternal. All things change, and decay; God is not a thing, but the ground of all thing-ness. He (for my purposes, the pronoun will do as well as another – none of them is really up the task) seems to hold isness itself like a cup; in traditional metaphor, in the palm of his hand.

This God who, self-existent, is the source of all being, is not distant. Were it not for his intimacy with the universe of things, I don’t suppose there would be a way for them to be. But there is “that of God in everyone” – the same Spirit is the light in the eyes of each of us, it seems to me, human and animal, all that lives.

Once something like this comes to be a part of us, nothing can be the same again. Once we live our own lives out of this source – out of the same source as matter, energy, stars and the contents of intergalactic space – “then [we shall] come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.” (George Fox, Quaker Faith & Practice 19.32)

Photo: The Banjo Pier, Swanage, in winter – Mike Farley

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