Is not my house right with God?
Has he not made with me and everlasting covenant,
arranged and secured in every part? –2 Samuel 23:5 (NIV)
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In spite of some glaring transgressions in his life and reign, at the end of his days King David was able to reflect with overall satisfaction on his accomplishments. His people were at peace, the Temple would be built, and Jewish culture was thriving.
* * *
I wish each of us could sense some of that in our own time, though our nation is hardly at peace, either at home or abroad.
Even our own families can be questionable.
Even in our own religious circles, few, if any, of us appear to have a surplus of time to devote to yet one more cause or organization. I suspect that we all run the danger already of “Quaker burnout” at both the monthly and yearly meeting levels. The last thing we need or want is even more responsibility to shoulder.
Yet we also desire to see our meetings grow. The Quaker message is as essential today as it was in the time of the first Friends, and has everything to offer the people in our neighborhoods and era, if we can find ways to extend and express it.
These two concerns do not have to be mutually exclusive, if we find ways to serve more effectively yet within our means.
* * *
Possibly some may ask me, Why then do those People that thou art now gone amongst, keep up their publick Meetings to preach, and to teach People the Way of Salvation? What need is there of their teaching, if every one hath a Teacher in them, able to instruct them in the Way to the Kingdom?
To which I answer, first, Though I did say as much, as that every one hath a Divine Teacher in them, yet I did not say, that every one knows this Teacher in them: For this hath been the Misery of many Ages of the World, People have gone out after the many Lo here’s and Lo there’s, to find Christ without them, in the mean Time neglecting his Appearance within them, even as was foretold by Christ himself, when he was on Earth in the Days of his Flesh: In the last Days, saith he, they shall say, Lo here is Christ, and Lo he is there; but go ye not out after them, nor follow them; behold I have told you before. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)