Skip to main content

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.)

Popular posts from this blog

Peter on Grief and Communities

Well, that was unexpected. For the last year, ever since my mom's health took a sharp downturn, I've been my dad's ride to Florence Congregational Church on Sundays. That community has been important for my dad and the weekly outing with me was something he always looked forward to and enjoyed, so I didn't mind taking him there. It meant giving up attending my own Quaker meeting for the duration, but I had already been questioning whether silent waiting worship was working for me. I was ready for a sabbatical. A month ago, my dad was Section-Twelved into a geriatric psych hospital when his dementia started to make him emotionally volatile. I had been visiting him every day at his assisted living facility which was right on my way home from work, but the hospital was almost an hour away. I didn't see him at all for three weeks, and when I did visit him there, it actually took me a couple of seconds to recognize him. He was slumped forward in a wheel chair, lo

What Do You Mean, Quaker Pagan?

"What do you mean, Quaker Pagan? You can't possibly be both!" Every now and then, we do get a comment on the blog that, if politely worded, does drive at basically that point. Usually the critic is a Quaker and a Christian, though I have certainly heard similar points raised by Pagans. Let me state a few things up front. Peter and I both do consider ourselves Pagan. Neither of us considers ourselves to be Christian--I never was one, and Peter hasn't been for decades. And we do consider ourselves to be Quakers... as does our monthly meeting, which extended us membership after the normal clearness process. We consider ourselves Quaker Pagans. (Why not Pagan Quakers? Pure aesthetics; we think the word order sounds better with Q before P.) Here's the argument for why Peter and I can't possibly be both: 1. Paganism is a non-Christian religion. 2. Quakers are a Christian denomination. 3. ERGO... Yes. We've considered that argument, oddly eno

Cat's Spiritual Journey, Part I: Getting (And Losing) That Old Time Religion

All posts in this series: Part I: Getting (and Losing) That Old Time Religion Part II: Coming Home Part III: The Fool's Journey Part IV: The Underworld Part V: Seven of Cups Part VI: A Letter and a Kiss Part VII: Morticia Loves Gomez Part VIII: Nora Part IX: Felicia Hardy and the Tower of Babel Part X: When Babel Fell Part XI: Community 2.0 Part XII: This Forgiveness Stuff From time to time, someone does ask about my spiritual journey. Mainly, it's Quakers, asking about what Paganism is, though sometimes it will be a co-worker, wanting to know more either about how I came to call myself Quaker, or what on earth I mean by Pagan. I should probably mention that, despite my best efforts to be discrete about my religion at work, I was outed as Wiccan within six months of becoming a teacher by kids who know how to use Google. This blog, which at least features current information, that reflects my beliefs and practices in the present, is at least partially a response