You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
It has been frantic here these last few weeks. What with meetings to organise as Secretary, meetings to attend, parts to learn for our drama group, accounts to audit, appointments to keep, doctors, dentists – the list goes on! And why don’t people return phone calls when they promise to do so? Sometimes I wish the world would stop spinning so that I could get off! Yes, I know you all probably lead a much more frenetic life than I, but I am supposed to be retired. I am sure all this hustle and bustle is not doing anyone’s health, physical or spiritual any good. Looking at it from a spiritual viewpoint, and, as I have said before it is not possible to separate the spiritual self from the secular self, how much time do we really give to God each day, in prayer, Bible reading or simply reflection? Even Jesus took time out from His teaching and healing ministry to spend in prayer and contemplation. If He needed to do so then surely we need it so much more. So when at Sunday Mass Father Graham announced that he would be leading a time of Quietness and Reflection at the local Friends Meeting House at the end of November this seemed an ideal opportunity to take some time to rest, reflect and recharge the batteries.
Now, I have never been inside the Friends Meeting House although I have passed it a number of times, of course. It seems that a building was first acquired for a meeting house by 1698 according to D M Butler, who wrote The Quaker Meeting Houses of Britain, 1999, vol.1, p. 174 although the local meeting’s own history has 1704 as the date of the acquisition. Remember that the Pilgrim Fathers had settled in Massachusetts in 1602 to escape religious persecution in the Old World and at least one family came from our town. That meeting house closed and was sold (by 1800 according to Butler, in 1848 according to the local meeting’s history). It was not until 1937 that groups of Quakers started to meet again, initially at a private home, then in the Women’s Institute Hall. In December 1957, the sale of an old meeting house elsewhere in the district provided funds to buy the so called Red House, the site of the present building, and convert it for use as a meeting house.
Anyway, it sounds an ideal place and time for a Quiet time. As Father Graham said it will be a good way to prepare for Advent and Christmas. I think I am rather looking forward to it.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years