Tom Hoey was the scheduled speaker at Semi-Programmed Meeting for Worship on November 8, 2015.
“I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul
Where I’ll end up well I think, only God really knows.”
— Cat Stevens/ Yusuf Islam, The Wind
It is of the nature of my job that I come to meeting for worship, usually unprogrammed worship, every other week. I miss this place and you, the people I share this place with, on my other weeks, and try to think of you briefly during the hours we are here. Sometimes there’s time, sometimes there just isn’t.
Silence is still a struggle for me, even after five years.
I settle in my seat, and pray. Prayer in the non-Quaker sense. I talk to God, tell him my troubles, ask her for forgiveness and blessings for this or that loved one with a birthday coming up or struggling with health, physical or mental; or with injustice or poverty. Prayer helps me calm and center myself. It seems to prepare me for silence, to stop talking to the Almighty, and to begin to listen.
It can still be a struggle. Passing cars seem louder in summer, passing airplanes seem louder in winter. We all cough or sneeze from time to time, all stomachs rumble.
The occasional sounds of wind, rain, birds and children I think of as coming from That of God within other creatures.
When I was invited by Lolly to speak this week, I asked her for a few days to think, pray, and to give some silence to the idea before I gave an answer. When I said “yes,” my initial reaction was a predictable panic attack. What will I say? How do I give a voice to That Of God within me and not “that of Tom Hoey?”
I found my answer in the October issue of Friends Journal, in a brief article, half a page, “As We Sit Here Together,” written by Shannon Parker, of Washington D.C. I’ll close with her last paragraph.
“I think of this day so often. Gathered by pulls and pulse of a longing for community, for one another, for something more, we sit vulnerably, silently, beside one another each week. We are doers; or singers; or clerks; or knitters; or moms; or homeless; or brand new, birthright, or between; or just because. We use silence as a tool for bridging those parts of ourselves that are so different. We call it the Spirit, or we call it Spirit, or we call it Christ, or we call it the Light or we call it the love, or we can’t find the word, or we find too many words. Each Sunday we come back, shut our eyes, sit together, and try again.”