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Friends Meeting: the B sides

#6: Lucifer

Good morning Friends.  I am deeply shaken by a Friend’s warning to be on the lookout for Lucifer, a false light, leading away from the inner light.  I heard a dire warning that as I look for the Light I must be careful to only find the Divine.

It is my understanding that Meeting for Worship is not meant to be a debate.  Therefore any impulse I have felt to reply to someone else whom has already spoken in meeting I choose to suppress, no matter how much it might cause me to quake.

I wonder that if there is any element of self-consciousness or ego in what I might offer as vocal ministry that it is best to let it go.   Or perhaps once I have begun to follow a prompting, as soon as I become self-conscious of my speaking, if I am trying too hard, then I should let go again (which could mean ending sooner rather than later).

It is because of doubts and concerns like these that I started to write “the B sides”.  These pieces of writing are not necessarily a debate, but rather another venue to express myself. Or I should say - express that of God in everyone, which happened to give me a message, which seemed to be primarily for myself, but may possibly help a few others too.

In worship I do often recall that I could just as easily share some truths in many other settings, for example at a table during the potluck lunch.  I also have some faith that if God really wants something said and I fail to say it, someone else will say it eventually.  I am not really so powerful as to stop the Truth.  The universe goes on quite well with or without me.

Now as for trying to tease out Lucifer’s light from God’s light, a pre-occupation of trying to avoid some supernatural deception…

I know by now that I do not respond to fear, guilt or shame very well.

At all.

In fact, I tend to cave in on myself.  I suppose that supernatural conspiracy theories did contribute to my chronic self-doubt.  Following fear leads me to always be suspicious of myself and skeptical, even cynical of everyone else around me.

I wonder if the concept of a personal supernatural evil force has terrorized me for too long.  Some friends have tried to teach me that F.E.A.R.  is False Evidence Appearing Real.

Perhaps not everyone responds to fear, guilt and shame as I do.

Some friends have tried to teach me that Faith is the opposite of Fear.

I believe that outside our meeting house, above the walkway is a sign which reads: “walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.”

That’s a C-H- as in ‘Cheerfully’, not an F- as in ‘Fearfully’.

We were not guided to walk fearfully over the world looking for that of Lucifer in everyone, but exactly the opposite – “Walk Cheerfully over the world answering that of God in everyone”.

There’s not even the detective work of “looking for”, but rather simply “answering to”.  There’s a very positive and reassuring assumption that there IS that of God in everyone.

You said to be careful to avoid the misleading light of Lucifer and only look for the divine.

Now I carefully watch everyone I meet here at Friends Meeting, because I want to know if I want to become a member, if this is the right place for me to commit to.  So – fair warning – yes, you are being watched.

The first words I could muster here this past summer were: “I’m very grateful that all of you are here!”

And now as I look at each and every one of you I can not fail to see the Divine!

For the minister who warned us of Lucifer, I challenge you to point to one person in this room who is not of God!

You just go ahead and show me one friend who is not divine!

Whom here should I be suspicious of?

In whom here should I be looking for the worst?!

Please stop trying to frighten me with religious notions of a boogeyman!

I utterly deny any school of theology which stoops so low as to resort to fear-mongering.

These stories of Satan, some of which are not even Biblical, whom does this serve?

Whom does the prop of a boogeyman serve?

Does it serve God?

Or does it serve a few human beings who wish to have more control over their fellows than they should have?

These lessons have cost me dearly!

That is why I feel I must share them, to perhaps spare another the expense.

And I will take some risk, and allow myself to be vulnerable to share the exact nature of this danger, this paranoia I’m trying to warn you about.

I heard some wonderful reports from the Cambridge Friends School this morning; it was quite inspiring to hear about Quaker values of social justice and peace being nurtured in the next generation.

But it was somewhat bittersweet for me because it reminded me that I have had some dreams about being a teacher, dreams which I withdrew from in fear.  Over the years quite a few people who are teachers have told me that I would make a good teacher, or that in fact I already am a very patient and talented teacher.

But self-doubt, focusing on the worst qualities within myself has left me paralyzed.

I have also had dreams of becoming a father.  I believe that all in all, my father did a pretty good job at it and I have wanted to be a dad like he was.

When I ponder what it is that children need I feel that it is Love and Hope.

But I recoil because I fear that I can not give what I do not have.

If I look for the worst in myself or others I will find it. I suppose that if I look for the best I will find that too, and I feel that I have only begun to try that.

If you feel compelled to walk fearfully over the world looking for the worst in everyone then I suppose I do feel quite sorry for you. 

I am sad that you feel that badly about yourself.

But I do have some good news.

There is one that can speak to thy condition!

Go look in the mirror and find him, he is there.

Always was!

You were just a little distracted that’s all.

 

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