Yesterday I wrote in my notebook this question: Can you imagine living in a place where there is no deception? I answered: That place would be God's Kingdom. I thought of it because in my brief, silent settling prior to worship, I saw this world as the deception it is. How did I surmise it's deception? Because of the worshiping of all its attributes.
This morning the Lord blazed my mind with His Spirit and opened to me that the deception is beliving this world is substance. The reason we need to be in the same Spirit as those who wrote Scripture in order to read them aright is because we first rely on worldly perception to open meaning. But if the world is Satan's overlay of God's Creation we can easily be deceived. Here's my own example from a passage in Matthew 9:12, which I wasn't reading this morning but the Lord had put in my mind: "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."
That verse seems straight forward and you know he's referring to sinners, and we all have our image of sinners in mind with little thought about it. But the Holy Spirit isn't so dismissive. He opened to me that all are sinners who deny Christ in all His capacities. Such a statement might elicit a Duh response, yet, for the first time I saw Pharisees as sinners. Why had I not before? For the very reason the Lord had opened to me.
And so it was for me reading George Fox's VII Sermon in the New Foundation Fellowship publication, That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning, page 176. 'I am a forerunner,' saith John. "He runs before, mends the highway, cries: 'Good news!' lays the mountains waste, makes the crooked things straight."
Now those mountains laid waste I pictured as having their tops shaved off, until the Lord turned me back to the morning he told his disciples that if they had faith in God they could tell the mountains to go fall into the sea and what they ordered would happen, "it will be done for [them]." Matt. 11:23b. Then I pictured the mountain as being a travail few seekers wanted to tackle but that Jesus would make less daunting. Lastly, I saw the mountain as all who are sinners.
Would it strike you as odd that at the beginning of my worship this morning, after standing in the light of Jesus as a settling moment, wherein He had brought to mind again the literal idea of The Religious Society Cafe (which caused me to think of Friends of Red Cedar Friends Meeting) I wrote the following in my notebood: The people of Red Cedar Friends Meeting are those Jesus spoke of in Matthew 9:12, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." The Pharisees saw themselves as whole.
"I am a forerunner," John said of himself. As a devout Quaker, am I not to be a forerunner? Am I not to be a physician to the sick Quakers and they inturn to be forerunners spreading the Good News and sending people to their free and true Teacher, Jesus Christ?
I looked down to read the last paragraph of the page. George Fox, truly a man of God, spoke: "Now as to the light, it is the thing that many stumble about." I'm thinking: that's to other people. "Saith John in the first chapter: 'There was a man sent from God to bear witness of the light that all through him might believe.' ...Saith he: 'In the beginning was the word ... 'and in him was life, and the life was the light of men...and this is the true light that enlightens every man that comes into the world.' ''
And I, in a sudden clearance of sight, wrote in the margin, Oh! The life is the light. Again you might think this is another Duh moment, but what seemed so obvious on the face of it actually manifested a depth I couldn't know on my own.
Forget the politics. Nothing in this world is of substance save that which the Lord gives us to do. Early Quakers didn't have to wait or pray to hear what Jesus wanted them to do, anymore than we have to, because it was always in them to do, as it is in us, when they came to their free and true teacher. The life in their light quickened their spirit as like the birth of a new baby. Who doesn't want to shout joy? Who doesn't want to hasten family, friends, neighbors, and sojourners to a grand meal for the sole purpose of worshiping God, the Father? Who cares what their politics are, their hair, eyes, or skin color are, their height or weight are, their quirks or twitches are? Who cares their wealth or lack of it? For we are all equal in having committed the first sin: we made something else a god.
So bring on that meal seating everybody who comes soley to worship God. Roll out that Religious Society Cafe, where we praise God and the Spirit of joy serves glad tidings in word, song, poem, and prayer.
Be a forerunner crying Good News, Good Food, Great Joy.