Friday, March 29, 2024

Good Friday

The Southeastern Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) always coincides with Easter weekend. It’s not that Quakers acknowledge or celebrate Easter (some do, some don’t), but it’s usually a time when families can gather at the retreat center in central Florida and have a good and meaningful time together.

There’s a misconception that Quakers just sit and don’t do anything for an hour, then shake hands, have coffee and refreshments, and that’s it. They don’t take an active part in their community or show passion for causes such as the poor, the needy, the lonely, or the lost.

Nothing could be further from the truth. For one thing, not all Quakers have silent or unprogrammed worship. Many Quaker meetings have a programmed service, and even some have ministers. To me, that’s a bit removed from what George Fox and Margaret Fell had in mind in 1650 — peace, equality, simplicity, and truth — but that’s Quakerism for you: to each his own to find their way. And Quakers have been very active in many causes, often at their peril. They were among the first Abolitionists in the United States and helped slaves escape. They refused combat service during wartime, often leading to arrest and persecution, and during the Holocaust, they helped people get out of Nazi-occupied Europe, again at their peril. Quakers have fought against segregation, misogyny, and sexual discrimination, and were one of the first faith communities to include same-sex marriage in their Meetings for Worship. So just because some meetings — including mine — don’t make noise doesn’t mean they’re not making a difference, and just because we don’t celebrate Easter like some churches doesn’t mean that the stories about Jesus Christ are not important to some of our Friends.

Have a good — or Good — Friday, and I hold all of us in the Light.

My friend (and Friend) Steve took this picture in 2013 as Friends gathered.

SEYM 03-29-13

Let this be the setting for the day.

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