I made myself write this rather than lie in the bed feeling useless. Quakers will probably find more interest in this than others.
A question has been on my mind recently. How do we best honor the memory of the Quaker martyrs? Many suffered persecution, time in jail, torture, and even death to worship as they wished. Even with greater societal tolerance that arrived with the passage of time, Friends were prohibited from pursuing certain educational opportunities and lines of work. For example, in Great Britain, Quakers were pushed into fields like business because of their refusal to join the state Church of England.
In other Christian denominations, I know that Christ's death on the cross is given primacy. We are to eternally remember the power and symbolism of the ultimate sacrifice, one made so that we could be forever in direct communion with God. In the Old Testament, God first believes that humanity needs no priests, no go-betweens. But in observing the sin of many of his creation, he changes his mind. God instead establishes a priestly class who contain within them sufficient Spiritual purity. Years later, Jesus's New Covenant puts an end to past ways.
One of the most cited quotes by George Fox regards the most important qualities of Quaker Worship. "Christ has come to teach his people himself," Fox wrote. In other words, there is no longer any need for a middle man. God arrived in human form, lived a mortal life, and as he walked the earth, he spoke to us as an equal. Animal sacrifice and the need for priestly interpretation of God's intentions were no longer applicable or needed.
The Light within us is a direct connection between humanity and God. But with this responsibility and freedom comes the need to listen to and observe the Spirit. We are granted the means to center down and observe God's direction and purpose for our life. This is a great blessing, but also a great responsibility. We ourselves take the place of a priestly class. God has granted to us not just responsibility, but also great trust. May we be sufficient stewards of that faith, not just in God, but in God's belief in us.
In the Light,