But as for me, I will look to the LORD, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. – Joel 7:7
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For many of us who have been drawn into the Quaker fold, one of the biggest surprises comes in discovering that the Society of Friends was – and in many ways continues to be – rooted in a far-reaching, organic comprehension and application of the Bible. Many of our practices and expressions that diverge so drastically from those of other denominations turn out, on close examination, to arise in a radical embrace of Judeo-Christian scriptures; indeed, the early Quaker movement boldly proclaimed itself to be “primitive Christianity restored” to its original power and authority.
The concept of “waiting upon the Lord” is central to Quaker practice. We see something similar in a restaurant where a good waiter watches the customers and responds to their needs at the appropriate time. For us, waiting also means openness – a calming depth and a readiness to listen or speak more tenderly.
While we turn inward, to our experience of the Divine, we also turn outward, toward the Holy One, the Source of Creation and Creativity. And then we see others, in our daily encounters, in a new light.
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This is that that hath the Blessing, and gives Right to partake thereof; for ’tis written, Blessed are they that do his Commandments, that they may have Right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the Gates into the City. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)