Thou hast shown thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. – Psalm 60:3
* * *
So often in pastoral church services, long before I knew anything of Quakers, I sensed that real worship could not begin until we got out of the building and back home where we could open our hearts to God and really read Scripture for insight – unfortunately, the private practice was pretty foreign to us as mainline Protestants (Evangelical United Brethren, now part of the United Methodist denomination).
In that regard, I consider some of the Asian practices to lead much closer to that “still small voice” of God than many who preach Christ but cannot sit silently and be fed in His presence – or even feel the Holy Spirit. Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t come back to Christianity until I’d been led through agnosticism and atheism, then yoga and its strain of Hinduism (which is, I can attest, too vast for Western minds to comprehend – and any religion taken out of its cultural context runs great dangers), a touch of Zen Buddhism, and finally to Friends – which I originally came to for its “group meditation” aspect.
I find that many of the Fundamentalists who denounce Asian lines as “cults” are, in their own practice, further from the power of Christ Risen and closer to the real dangers of “cultism,” which arises from the dependence upon a single human teacher – this is especially the case in the independent congregations where the pastor has no accountability to elders or to overseers (1st Timothy 3 and 5); the temptations in such situations are too great and have led many astray.
Oh, my, I’ve tasted much in this journey and been so often astonished!
* * *
The outward Supper cannot be the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, which the Apostle speaks of. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)