We have been gathering to explore contemplative prayer for a year now on a Thursday evening in St Catherine’s chapel and it has been a delightful learning experience for us all. Just recently, in true Quaker fashion, I felt moved to introduce a form of silent prayer not drawn from eastern traditions or from our Catholic heritage but instead from a protestant and protesting British past.
There are many reasons why the spirit of the early Quakers, the earlier Diggers and Levelers and the later Methodists should be on our minds as we live out a radical theology for Eco Church in the Twentyfirst Century. In their time, at times of change and upheaval in the social paradigm, they offered and alternative voice to the status quo. They called out for justice and equality and access to land and the freedom to be part of the political hierarchy of the day.
We hear the same voices today and we join them as we rebel against the consumerism that has bound us and the enclosure of our lives that has impoverished us.
So for a while on a Thursday evening we will be sitting in silence. This is the simplest form of contemplation, no techniques, no method, no musical distraction, no leader. Just sitting with the clear awareness of each other and of God, waiting for God to speak to us in the ways only know to us. Individual communion with God in a collective, personal silence deepened in communion with others.