Relationship of Faith to Practice
Friends believed that a faithful life requires engagement with the world. Engagement in a way that is our best understanding of what God is asking us in the real concrete moments of our lives. Our engagement is not driven by political calculation, by preservation of privilege or even self-preservation. We seek to align our outward love and care for this world with our inward relationship with both our personal and corporate experience with the Divine. Many words have been used to describe this focus of our inward relationship; the Holy Comforter, Inner Light, Living Christ, Teacher and Friend, Beloved, Inward Guide - and many more, descriptions change with time, culture and experience. - Plymouth Monthly Meeting
Tendering of one's relationship to the world
For the inward relationship to have meaning it must be responded to. Friends have experienced this response in stages. The desire to live consistently in this world to God's abiding love requires a tendering of our spirits, a willingness to let our defenses be broken down, and be open to compassion, love and pity (in the best sense of the word) for the world around us. With a tender spirit there comes a heighten sensitivity to the needs of others. “... in this terrible tenderness, we become one with God and bear in our quivering soul the sins and burdens, the benightedness and the tragedy of the creatures of the whole world “ Thomas Kelly – Testament of Devotion
A tender heart leads to a specific Concern for the world
From this deep soul felt tenderness for the suffering of our world (its people and its natural elements) emerges a specific and special responsibility that friends have called a Concern. “A quickening sense of the need to do something about a situation or issue in response to what is felt to be a direct intimation of God’s will. “ PYM Faith and Practice.
A broad concern may lead to a calling to a Leading to a specific action
With time, prayerful attention to a Concern condenses into a specific Leading. A sense of being called by God to undertake a specific course of action.
(PYM Faith and Practice).
The Quaker sense of concern particularizes the response to the World's needs. A person is led to address a specific Concern with a specific action or perhaps a few actions. The Divine “Loving Presence does not burden us with all things, but considerately puts upon each of us just a few central tasks, as emphatic responsibilities. For each of us these special undertakings are our share in the joyous burdens of love.
(Thomas Kelly – Testament of Devotion).
Within our Faith Community we support each member’s leadings, or participate jointly in them.
We strive to be faithful to what is set before us personally. There are also concerns that emerge as a corporate leadings of the whole Monthly, Quarterly or Yearly Meeting which require the same prayerful discernment. Example – building of a school in Afghanistan, providing support or sanctuary for refugees, providing bail bond…. Plymouth Monthly Meeting