This is coming late this week but better late than never right?
Here’s the skinny for preparation for Sunday.
We’re talking about John Woolman this Sunday, so if you don’t know who he is you can do a little of your own reading up on him, and if you already are a resident Woolman scholar well then you can give me a phone call and help me get this sermon together! 😉
Why Woolman? For the last month or so we’ve been talking about the testimonies or practices of Quakers, but I don’t want to give the impression that “what we do” is at all separate from “who we are.” In other words, our biographies, our personal stories shape us and show who we really are, and who we are becoming. That’s a mouthful. Basically, I just thought we should take a break from talking about what the Quaker tradition is and tell a story about someone who was a Friend and faithful follower of Christ.
Two texts sit as the basis of this retelling of Woolman’s biography:
> “and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
> “Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.
> Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. >
> See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. >
> From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body. (Gal 6:6–17)
What does it mean to you to say “it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” as Paul does here?
Does anything stand out to you from this passage in relation to what you know about John Woolman’s life?
And then a couple queries from Woolman’s own journal:
> Do I never abuse my body by inordinate labour, striving to accomplish some end which I have unwisely proposed? Do I use action enough in some useful employ? Or do I sit too much idle, while some persons who labour to support me have too great a share of it?
I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.