Devotional for March 19, 2021 – FWCC Section of the Americas Meeting
My past year has held some lamentations, & I’ve been experiencing Jesus washing my feet. In John 13, we read how he disrobes, wraps a towel around his waist, & wipes the disciples’ feet with the same towel.
Jesus bares his body in this loving act as much as he bares his heart. During this joyful week of fellowship, distressing challenges arose as I prepared devotionals. I have found comfort in Jesus’s prayer from the Garden of Gethsemane:
…Oh my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will (Matt.26:39, New Century Version).
I hear Jesus honoring the presence of God as Love while naming his pain.
In English, we have a turn of phrase for the body: our “mortal coil.” This saying reminds us that we are physically finite & also we are a container for something more – like the pine seed in the Earth that breaks open to become something new.
Yes, the Living Path of Love calls us to “sink down to the Seed” & become a new thing. I hear this in I Corinthians 15:36-38 (New Century Version):
…When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground before it can live & grow. And when you sow it, it does not have the same “body” it will have later… But God gives it a body that he has planned for it, & God gives each kind of seed its own body.
In obedience to what Love requires of me, I’m to bare my heart & “mortal coil”: Because of childhood & recent traumas, I’m often uneasy in my body.
As a youth, creative activities & a personal relationship with God helped me through many hardships. But it was the thought of my mother that stopped me from abandoning the body. Because I did not want to add my pain of soul to her own.
Looking back, I believe that God put this Love for the Mother in my heart to save my life &, also, to save hers from despair. To Love is to experience Oneness; this is the presence of God. It is to seek Unity among our body including this FWCC body as Quaker family.
Such Love is able to re-open the heart after trauma & pain. Because there is another side. There is The Promise. There is Resurrection after Crucifixion.
As we “give over” or surrender entirely to Love — that being “the new & living way” of Jesus, we grow a new body like the taproot of a pine tree.
Friend Jocelyn Burnell gifts us an understanding about what emerges from crucifixion:
It demonstrates to us the depth of God’s love; it shows us that soft options are not always available; it reminds us that powerlessness can be a way; it teaches us that suffering, sorrow & defeat have strengths.
What Friends have to offer the World is a “way through” our present & historical traumas. Love is the way through, & grows a new body. This is such a calling as written by theologian Elizabeth Johnson:
To those who believe the call from the depths of their relationship with God is to bend every effort to stand with God in solidarity with those who suffer: to right the wrongs, counter injustice, relieve the pain, & create situations where life can flourish. Then a resurrecting world can gain a foothold in this fractured world.
Friends, let us gently hold in the Light this “resurrecting world” & one another.
Dear Quaker family, I send with you abiding words from Rufus Jones:
If God is God, which means in other words,
Spirit, Life of our lives,
Love at the heart of things,
the over-arching, under-girding Source of all
that is eternally Real & True & Beautiful & Good,
then we already have a two-storied universe
with a Home in it for all we love
& a Garden in it greater than Eden,
where transplanted human worth will bloom
to profit otherwhere. This faith at least may
‘call home our hearts to quietness.’