First Day Thoughts from John Woolman–for this 25th Day of 12th Month

I just had pancakes with John Woolman.  (I had an early, spartan breakfast with my husband and then felt the urge to make pancakes–something about childhood comfort food, I’ll bet.)

It is Christmas Day.  The pinnacle of the Christian Season of PEACE.  It is also First Day.   Reading Friend Woolman’s journal this morning was illuminating for seeking one’s spiritual/mystical/activist path.  And is this not a most excellent time to seek divine direction through silence and with awe of what this Season is about?

As I was reading Friend Woolman’s journal, I didn’t get too far, which is typical for me.  His words and actions always lead me to have to stop to digest the enormity of his commitment to being led by the Spirit to engage in his efforts to seek and connect with the Divine in all men and women.

Our Friends Journal (Jan 2012 edition) arrived a couple of days ago in the mail.  “Cover photo of Occupy Philadelphia by Don Davis/AFSC” shows a man holding up a sign that says:

When the POWER

of LOVE overcomes

the LOVE of

POWER, the

World will know

P E A C E.

Have you already connected the dots between Friend Woolman and this 2011 sign for PEACE?

Here’s how I connected the dots in a scrambled sequence:

  1. We must find our way into EQUALITY for all, for without EQUALITY, we will have disregard to those who have less than us and we will envy  those who have more.
  2. To seek Equality, we must strive for SIMPLICITY.  Without a shared SIMPLICITY, we engage in obtaining more than we need.  More than our neighbor.  A competition to who can have more and thus “live better” than his neighbor.
  3. To eventually have PEACE, we must have EQUALITY.  We can not have EQUALITY without having a SENSE of others and the shared need to bring everyone into a common ground of respect and a sharing to meet all of our needs.

This is such an overwhelming belief about how to “right the world” that one could “give up” before even attempting to follow the steps.  Friend Woolman never gave up.  He began in his COMMUNITY and slowly extended his community to include people he could only reach by ship or days on horseback.  People who he did not share a common language or culture.

So how can we apply Friend Woolman’s mysticism-activitism in today’s world?  We start in our COMMUNITY.  We seek ways to live simply, connect with others, share in our resources.  How might this look in reality? 

I think I need to ask myself, “How much money and time do I spend outside of meeting my simple needs?  How might I spend more of that money and time in helping others, rather than the self-indulgence that I am currently engaging in?

Perhaps one of the photos on this post will help to lead you to seeking your way to further your own simple living to be able to reach out to your COMMUNITY with EQUALITY as your mission.

Be gentle with yourself and those you consider to be your COMMUNITY.

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