M is for Meeting

My son says, half jokingly, that I am addicted to Meeting for Worship. It is true that I usually go twice a week, and will happily go everyday if it is practical to do so (as it is at Woodbrooke).

So why do I go? What is the attraction? Sitting still in silence for half an hour or an hour, when there is so much else I could be doing, travelling to do this with other people when I could sit still on my own just as easily.

Well, to take the last point first, in practice I don’t do it much on my own. I lack the self discipline. If I do manage it I usually need to have an awareness that others are doing so too (for instance, I may sit quietly at home at the same time as ‘quiet time’ at Claridge House). Looking at this the other way round though, practising regularly with others does tend, in my experience, to make it slightly easier to discipline myself to quiet times on my own.

When we gather together to listen to the Spirit, to the Light, there is usually a much stronger sense of the Presence than I feel when alone. The size of the gathering does not matter, two or three at a midweek meeting is as effective as the eight hundred to fifteen hundred we may have at a yearly meeting. I also feel a supportive connection to those present, and to other Friends not there. And there is the excitement of not knowing quite what might or might not happen. I have occasionally been so terrified (as on the first occasion I gave vocal ministry) that I resolved never to go to meeting again. Sometimes I have cried and sometimes I have laughed. Mostly I sit calmly, aware, at least for moments, of the Presence, which is there for myself and others, and have glimpses of new insights into matters significant and trivial, and that is enough to keep me going back for more.

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