Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shared Worship

Last first day was a beautiful spring day for the morning drive to Camas Friends Church.
A wonderful turnout from two Quaker meetings (Bridge City and Multnomah and a Quaker church (Camas Friends) for a shared service.
Wess Daniels, the pastor had sent out an email that week with the lectionary reading with the text to be discussed, it comes from the Gospel of John 20:19-29.
“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:19–29 NRSV)

After reading the passages, Wess presented a few queries to the congregation which garnered a lot of comments from Friends from all three congregations. This seemed to me to be akin to our unprogrammed yearly meeting’s (North Pacific Yearly Meeting) worship discussion groups format on a larger scale. Friends are still remarking about how powerful this was and how it brought new meaning to their understanding.

During the period of expectant waiting in the silence there were a few very meaningful messages from Friends from the different congregations. It was truly a gathered meeting.

Also impressive was the sharing of personal concerns asking for prayers and the gratitudes expressed during the service. This was a wonderful manifestation of holding each other in the Light.

A hearty potluck of soup, bread, and salads was shared over good conversations afterward.