29 September 2009

Doing the Work of the Meeting

A couple of years ago, our Meeting embarked on the Jubilee Year by laboring over the structure of our Meeting. Since that time, we've done a lot of work to simplify the structure and lighten the load.

Sunday, we had a threshing session to consider the changes that we've made and whether they're working or not.

I put on my Assistant Clerk hat and sat next to the Clerk to support her work in the threshing session. I expected that we'd hear many things and that I myself would say that we've made a lot of progress towards simplifying and lightening the workload, but that we need to continue our work so that things can work more smoothly.

Almost immediately, the threshing session took a sharp turn towards the unexpected. I could feel the Clerk next to me struggling with letting go and letting God. I silently supported her in this, and turned my attention to what it was that our Meeting was trying to express.

When I was moved to speak, what I said was only tangentially related to our stated purpose that day. I spoke deep from the place of Not-Knowing, of admitting that I do not know how to do the work of our Meeting that I am called to do as Assistant Clerk and as clerk of Worship & Ministry. I affirmed my love and commitment to the Meeting, however, as well as my feeling of certainty that together, with the help of God, we can do what we are called to do.

I wondered the rest of the day and most of the next whether I had spoken appropriately or not. It certainly felt like Spirit moved me to say what I said, and the sense of being a channel was strong while I was speaking. It felt unruly, however, and I had the wry thought that we just ought to stop inviting Spirit to these meetings, that Spirit again and again throws a monkey wrench into our best laid plans.

The next day, I had a ministry/eldering/support meeting with a member of the Meeting who is struggling. I did not know what I was supposed to do, what was called for. I sat down earlier in the day to prepare for it, and ended up feeling that my Unknowing, my expectant waiting, was the best thing that I can bring to my work in the Meeting.

I can't pretend to be in control. I can't pretend that I know what I'm doing when I don't. All I can do is prepare the best I can, and show up open to whatever happens. All I can do is hold that tiny bit of Light that I have been given and shine for all I am worth.

That Unknowing is feeling very important to me. I don't know how to do this. I don't know what God wants of me.

I have to believe that is okay, and that I will be led as needed.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for a lovely post. It speaks to my condition. I've found it is much easier for me to "give the steering wheel over to God" as I get older--when I was younger, there was too much ego involved.

But I chuckled over your idea (kidding of course) of not inviting the Spirit to these meetings anymore--we've certainly been there, too!

Best, Mia

haven said...

Thank you! This sharing was very helpful to me, as I ponder over my own unknowing!

Bill Samuel said...

Thanks for the sharing. The Spirit leads us in ways that we do not understand and that may be scary. But we can only fully experience the Presence and the Joy if we follow anyway. It sounds like that's what you did.

I can recall a time in a YM session when I felt called to share. What I felt called to say was not directly on point to the proposed minute on the floor. The Clerk stopped me and said I must speak to the minute and could not give ministry. I had to respond that I did not feel released. The body overrode the Clerk and insisted I be allowed to finish. This was aided by friends of mine who were praying for me in the rear of the room.

That was a very uncomfortable time.