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Rise out of meeting

So what are we doing again?

Just wait and see.

Oh no, not this guy again! 

Hey professor pretentious - You know it was nice and quiet in here until you had to open your pie hole! 

Citing The Boston Globe for an opener?! oh that’s a bad sign right there!

Remember –

 perhaps this IS the spiritual awakening for him at this moment in his path.

Yeah we care a lot about that too, but that’s what the AFSC or a business meeting is for. 

The only debate society allowed during this hour is the one right here in my head.

You got anything better?

No, but at least I know I don’t got anything better so I keep my mouth shut and that makes me better.

How sanctimonious of you.

Yeah, whatever man!

That reminds me, I meant to ask you – do you keep quiet out of reverence or vanity? 

Come again?

Fear of God or fear of man?

Yep, ok…

You got me.

A bird flutters about in the bushes just barely within resolution of vision framed by the west middle window.

It’s beautiful here.

Yeahr it is.

The robin hops from branch to branch, then stops suddenly on the upper tier.

It rests.

It rests perfectly still.

It waits so lightly and poised and still at the limit of my vision that I doubt myself.

I doubt that what I see at the top of the bushes is a bird at all,  that I even once saw it move.

I gaze at it carefully hoping for a sign of its movement while someone speaks,

Someone speaks.

Now who’s this Chatty Kathy?!

Isn’t she the one who held us up at the last business meeting?

Don’t start!

  Let go.

OK, focus on the message, not the messenger.

Right.

So it was a bird – it flew!

What did she say?

Chatty Kathy? Something about Peace.

OK, now what?

Honestly, how did you think God was going to speak to us?

Well first there’d be a dramatic swell from the string orchestra offstage,

the meeting house doors would part abruptly of their own accord amidst rolling fog from the dry ice buckets in the background,

enter Charleton Heston with flowing white beard and robe, radiant in shafts of sunlight from high above…

Keep comin’ back!

OK, ok. So…. What is God?

Divinum Mysterium.

Divine Mystery? 

Divine Mystery.

What’s a mystery?

I don’t know.

Then why did you call it a mystery?

No,

 ‘I don’t know’ is a mystery.

So what’s God again?

I don’t know.

I don’t know?

Exactly!

Umm…

Wait a minute -

That helps.

What helps?

Waiting.

But what’s God?

Just wait for a while.

I wake up to warm sunlight on my head and neck.  I open my fleece jacket.

I trace the faintest shadows of leaves on the floor.  I perceive them best when the wind shakes the braches and I hear them rustling behind me.  I try to follow their shadows up across the facing benches and onto the wall.

Spartan interior decorators these Friends, eh?

 It’s beautiful in here!

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

Hey man, I’m just doin’ my homework, looking for God, so give me some credit already.

What is there to see here?

White walls, floor, benches, windas, trees and the occasional bird.

And?

Did I mention white walls?

What’s different?

Different from what?

Different from your previous experience?

I’ll give you a big hint.

Yeah?

Seating arrangements.

Compare the benches to other places you’ve sat.

Other churches sit us in rows looking up to a raised festooned platform where there’s a rehearsed and polished message, sometimes accompanied by a real multimedia extravaganza.  Costume, lighting, art and set direction, music, choreography, script, fabulous tableware,

 Quite a show.

Like Charleton Heston?

Yeah, somehow it feels fake.

And?

Sport stadiums are in a circle, centered around a competition, an unpredictable event, but it’s done by an elite for the highest bidder.  The vast majority only experience it vicariously.  Feelings of belonging and loyalty are contrived at best.

And?

School seating follows the row and column, marching orders motif,

office cubicle farms are comfortable cells,

And here?

We sit in a circle, more or less, either looking out the window, or

at each other.

 

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