Being a Love Warrior In These Times (Guest Speaker: Christine Ashley)

Christine Ashley has worked for the past 5 years nurturing and deepening FCNL’s relationships with Friends across the United States in her role as Quaker Field Secretary. These days, Christine is a working member of Alamance County NAACP as well as serving on the executive committee for the new Friends Committee on North Carolina Legislation (FCNCL). Christine is a long-time educator, serving over 15 years as a Quaker educator. She has worked at Scattergood Friends School as Head of School in West Branch, Iowa, Thornton Friends Middle School as principal, and Thornton Friends Upper School (MD) as dean of students. Christine worked in international high schools and a teacher’s college in Singapore, Indonesia and India. She is a mom of 5 teens and adults as well as a teen Husky, and every day is an adventure.

Hebrews 13:8 (NRSV): Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Query: How do we practice listening for the Holy when the world and her condition seems so noisy, so uncomfortable, fear-invoking, deadly, and distracts us from the Light, Love, the Promise?

Howard Thurman’s Meditation (from Howard Thurman’s papers, box 109, Boston University)

Whither shall I go from Thy Presence?
From Thee is there some hiding place?

The deed is a thing so private
So inside the perfect working of desire
That its inward part seems known to me,
To me alone.

The ebb and flow of thoughts
Within my hidden sea,
The forms that stir within the channels of my mind,
Keep tryst with all my intimate hopes and fears.
The ties that hold me fast to those whose
Life with mine makes one,
The tangled twine that binds my life
With things I claim as mine
Seem cut off from all else but
My embrace.

The great stillness that walls around
The heartaches and the pain
Is sealed against aught else that would invade.

The awe-filled contrition emptied of all violence and all sin
Keeps watch with the spent loneliness
Of my deserted soul.

The joy crowding to the quivering brim the heights and uppermost reaches of vast delight
Gives room to nothing but itself alone.

And yet,
Always I know that Another
Sees and understands-
Every vigil with me keeps watch-
The door through which He comes no man
Can shut-
He is the Door!

I cannot go from Thy Presence.
There is no hiding place from Thee.