Many years ago as a new Friend I pondered just what it meant to believe that there is that of God in everyone. I finally came to accept the Truth of this core belief and to see it as what I call "the Great Equalizer". It is what unfailingly makes each of us the same. It is the starting point that each of us has at the moment of our creation and provides the most important choice that we can ever make in the course of our lifetimes: "Will I fan that spark until it becomes an all consuming flame and allow the Light of Love to be my guide?" or "Will I ignore the spark?" effectively placing a rock upon it so that it lacks oxygen and must expend all it's energy simply keeping my body alive in hopes that my soul may awaken. I know those who chose to fan the spark. They are filled with unimaginable Joy and they glow with Love from the Spirit. I also know those who have not yet accepted the existence of this incredible gift. They struggle against the sorrows and trials of unbelief without the Loving guidance of the Spirit. In 1841 Caroline Fox explained it this way: “Live up to the Light thou hast and more will be granted thee.”
Friends often choose not to talk with one another about our faith; our spirituality. My personal perception is that, because we see our personal belief systems as diverse we shy away from these discussions usually because we are afraid of offending one another or of being offended. Yet, if each of us can say with honesty and clarity that we believe that there is that of God within each of us, there is a starting place. This is our common ground. It is where we all come together. Let us begin there.
As Friends, we yearn for a renaissance: for growth and outreach, a spreading of the Word. I find myself wondering if we are as a community traversing the dark night of the soul: That time of spiritual dryness and pain when we feel that God is far from us. It can be a time of frustration and fear. I remember Sister Ellen Stephen of the Order of St. Helena sharing her understanding that we sit in the midst of the darkness because the Light is so bright that we cannot see - that the dark night is a time to deepen our faith and prepare - that there is often revelation awaiting us and we will see it clearly when the time is right.
I believe that our time will be right when we can talk to each other with openness and clarity about who we, as Friends are, and what we believe: When we can see and touch the Universal Light within that we all carry and make the choice to fan the flame.