February: Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

(This is the second in a series of 12 monthly queries developed by Pacific Yearly Meeting.)

“Their style of deliberation was singular… Not in the way of the world, as a worldly assembly of men, by hot contests, by seeking to outspeak and overreach one another in discourse, as if it were controversy between party and party of men, or two sides violently striving for dominion, in the way of carrying on some worldly interests for self-advantage; not deciding affairs by the greater vote, or the number of men, as the world, who have not the wisdom and power of God.

“The Quaker procedure is just the opposite . . . [I]n the wisdom, love and fellowship of God, in gravity, patience, meekness, in unity and concord, . . . and in the holy Spirit of truth, . . . in love, coolness, . . . as one only party, . . . to determine of things by a general mutual concord, in assenting together as one man in the spirit of truth and equity, and by the authority thereof.”

Edward Burrough (from his 1662 testimony about early Friends’ business meetings; quote from “From Beyond Majority Rule” by Michael Sheeran)

Come to meeting with hearts and minds prepared to be open and faithful to the leadings of the Spirit. Then the conduct of business will lead to truth, unity, and love.

When a matter is before the monthly meeting for business, each person present contributes to the corporate search for a decision that accords with the will of God. Inaction is a form of action. Silent worship in the meeting for business contributes to the process of achieving unity.

Listen attentively to others’ words and the use of silence between messages to reflect carefully on what you might contribute. When you are clear, speak simply what is in your heart, without repeating what has already been offered. While making your insights clear, lay aside personal opinions and attend to what God requires.

Do I attend monthly meeting for business regularly?

Do I speak in meeting for business only when I am led to speak?

Is the meeting for business held as a meeting for worship in which we seek divine guidance for our actions?

Are we tender and considerate of different views, coming to a decision only when we have found unity?

Do we give prayerful support for our clerks that they may be sensitive to the movement of the Spirit among us? 

March: Stewardship and Vocation

(Note: Some queries are intended for individuals. The italicized portion of the queries above is intended for the Meeting collectively.)

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