Good Afternoon Friends,
I can’t believe that it’s Thursday already! I feel like I haven’t seen you all in a year! [insert lame chuckle]. I hope you had a nice New Year’s celebration. I enjoyed seeing some of you on Monday evening and am really looking for to the coming year.
As most of you know, in January we join with many other meetings in our Yearly Meeting and participate in “Peace Month.” A time for us to reflect as Quakers on the importance of non-violence, and our tradition’s testimony of peace. Peace is a complex topic that is rich with biblical precedence and at the same time, all too easy to ignore, or forget to practice. It is especially easy to disregard peace when we are in a reactionary place, when we are stretched too thin in our lives or are divided internally. This past month has only brought the importance of peace, and the ability to respond out of a place of centeredness to our communal/societal awareness.
With that said, our theme for this month is “Conflict Resolution.” This week we are going to look at our own internal conflicts. What are the issues that you wrestle with internally, the places where you feel “divided?”
We are going to focus on two texts:
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?” (James 3:13–4:5 NRSV)
And Matthew 2:1-12 which is the story of King Herod and the Magi. You can read it online here.
- What are the conflicts within that keep me divided?
- When I have I felt the least divided in my life/career/family?
- Like the Magi, are there places in which the inner teacher is nudging me in a different direction than the one I previously planned?