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An Experiment in Scriptio Divina (Peter)

This came out of something we did last month in NEYM’s ministry and counsel working party on spirituality and sexual ethics. That group has been charged with promoting discussions at monthly meetings about sexual ethics, and also going through a process of deep and spirit-led discernment ourselves to draft a sexual ethics statement of our own, with the ultimate goal of bringing the results of all of this for consideration at the Yearly Meeting level.

Last month, one of the things the working party did was to go into worship and, from that place of worship, write down questions each of us would have had about sexual ethics and sexual behavior when we were younger. It turned into a sort of written worship sharing—not something I’d ever done or even heard of before—and it was pretty powerful.

I decided to try writing during my regular meeting for worship at Mt. Toby. Call it “scriptio divina”—divine writing. Or call it written ministry, analogous to vocal ministry. Or call it, as the subtitle of QPR says, “blogging in a spirit of worship.”

It felt like what I wrote was coming from Spirit. Not just that, it felt (like vocal ministry often does in a really good covered meeting) like it was tapped into the same Spirit that had us all gathered. I was on the fence about standing up and sharing it aloud during meeting. In the end, I didn’t, but I’m sharing it here. The first and second drafts both came during meeting. The second is more writerly, the first perhaps a little closer to the root.

LET LOVE BE THE FIRST MOTION.
SPEAK FROM LOVE
BE SILENT FROM LOVE

SPEECH WITHOUT LOVE IS AGGRESSION
SILENCE WITHOUT LOVE IS SHUNNING

WE ARE NOT CIRCUMSTANCES IN ONE ANOTHER’S LIVES;
WE ARE PINPOINTS OF GOD’S LIGHT.

WE CANNOT BE HARMLESS
ANY MORE THAN THE SUN
BY WITHDRAWING ITS HEAT
WOULD CEASE TO CAUSE HARM TO THE EARTH

LET LOVE GUIDE OUR SPEECH AND OUT REFRAINING FORM SPEECH

And the second draft…

HARMLESS

Speak form love.
Be silent from love.

We cannot be harmless
As if we were circumstances
In one another’s lives;
We are pinpoints of God’s light.

We cannot be harmless
Any more than the sun
By withdrawing its heat
Could cease to cause harm to the Earth.

Let love guide our speech
And our refraining from speech.

Image credit: Scribe Writing, posted without attribution at Manuscript Anxiety.

Comments

Erik said…
This seems to me very True.

Overall I feel the edited version overall flows very well, but I do miss the directness of the simple statement "we are not circumstances in each other's lives...". (For what it's worth!)

Thank you for sharing this ministry.
Joanna Hoyt said…
In either version, I find the reminder that we can't be harmless helpful and necessary. Thank you.
Chris said…
wow, this is really great.
Yewtree said…
I like it.

Can't resist saying, "Mostly Harmless".
Peter Bishop said…
"Mostly harmless," indeed! (*Groan*)

Thanks for the comments, though.
natcase said…
lovely,
David Pollard said…
I wonder how this writing fits with the Wiccan Rede ('An it harm none, domwhat ye will.)

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