Quaker Theology - #28 - Spring-Summer 2016
A Godly Play Story About Tom Fox
4 figures holding hands in a circle
paper or felt shaped like Iraq
the letters I R A Q
figure sitting and reading a book
Today I want to tell you about a Quaker man named Tom Fox who believed
in walking cheerfully over the earth answering to that of God in
Put out the mat
Tom was a dad. He had 2 children, a girl and a boy. Tom loved his
children and loved being a dad. He loved to cook and he loved making
And he loved peace. Tom Fox was a peacemaker.
Put out the peace symbol.
One day Tom heard God ask him to go to a place where there was war, a place that really needed peacemakers.
(Optional for those who have studied the Godly Play stories:
This is a place we have been before.
This part of the world is now called the Middle East and is where Jesus
came from. Abram lived here. Moses lived here. This is where the Family
of God came from. An area near the desert that Abram and Moses came
from became the villages and cities of what is now called Iraq. After
the Family of God, there came many other families. They had children
who had children who had children until your grandparents were born and
they had your parents and your parents had you. And other families had
children who had children until the grandparents were born; they had
the parents of the children now in this land called Iraq. And now there
is a war in Iraq. This is where God’s people began and we are going
back there. We all came from there and Tom Fox felt called to go back.
Abram was called to the desert. Moses was called to the desert. And Tom
Fox was called to the desert).
Tom joined with other peacemakers who felt God wanted them to go to a
place where there was war. They formed a team and were called a
Christian Peacemaker Team.
Put the 4 guys together holding hands on the right side of the mat.
Tom’s team called themselves a Christian team because, like Jesus, they
believed that people need to love and forgive one another. People are
different from one another and may not understand one another. They may
have conflicts but they need to work out differences without being
violent and hurting one another. Christian Peacemaker Teams believe
that our world would be a lot better place if we all put our energy
into making peace instead of making war.
While putting out the piece shaped like Iraq and the letters I R A Q
The land that God wanted Tom to go to was called Iraq. Tom listened to
God and went there. When he got to Iraq, Tom saw many people hurting
and killing one another. Many children were being hurt and they were
sad. Put out the sad children. Tom was especially concerned about the
children because they did not have the food or medicine they needed.
Put out double heart.
When Tom was in Iraq, he was faithful to what God asked him to do. His
friends said he was gentle, patient, compassionate, forgiving and
courageous. His heart met the hearts of the Iraqi people.
While putting up the tent, placing Tom sitting in front with a book.
Sometimes he lived in a tent and sat by his tent and read books to
people that would help them to be more loving and forgiving. Sometimes
he cooked them delicious food. Sometimes he just listened to their
stories and they felt loved by him. His voice made the people less
afraid. He might say, “I am glad I am here to help.” Or he might say,
“You keep taking care of yourself now.” And his friends felt less
When people are hurting and killing one another, many people feel mad
and afraid. Tom prayed for all of the people, those doing the hurting
and those being hurt, and that helped him not to be mad at people.
Being afraid was even harder to overcome than feeling mad. Almost
everyday he prayed, did yoga and welcomed the sun as it came up in the
morning. He said thank you to God for his life and all that he was
given. And that made Tom feel less afraid.
One day when Tom was sitting in meeting for worship, an image came to
him about Iraq. Tom saw that Iraq was “a land of shadows and darkness.
Put black pieces for shadows across the land.
But within that land candles were burning; not many candles but enough to shed some light on the landscape.
Put candles up slowly.
Some candles disappeared –
Take away candles.
– and it was my sense that their light was taken away for protection.
Other candles burned until nothing was left and a small number of
candles seemed to have their light snuffed out by the shadows and
What was most striking was that as the candles which burned until the
end and the candles whose light was snuffed out ceased to burn, more
candles came into being, seemingly to build on their light.”
Put up many more candles.
Tom said, “There are many people willing to die for war. There must be more people who are willing to die for peace.”
He knew he was in a dangerous land and that he could be hurt or killed
because many people around him were being hurt and killed. When he
talked with his friends about the possibility of his being hurt or
killed, he said, “If I am ever called upon to make the ultimate
sacrifice in love of enemy, I trust that God will give me the grace to
do so.” Soon after that he was kidnapped and then killed.
(Pause.) Take Tom out of the picture.
His friends say that they are sure that Tom forgave those who did it.
Place hands over each group as you say the following words:
People everywhere were sad when Tom died; his children were very sad,
his friends were sad, the people in Iraq were sad, the children were
sad, and people on both sides of the fighting were sad. Many people
were sad who did not know Tom but knew of his work. They knew that Tom
was a Quaker and lived a good life. Tom wanted to live like Jesus, and
he did in many ways. And people in many places in the world said, “If
Tom can be faithful to his calling to be a peacemaker, I can too. I can
live more simply.”
Hold a cross in your hand (if the group is uncomfortable with the cross symbol, a candle/light could be used)
Tom believed deeply that there is that of God in EVERY person. Some
people call that of God in every person (the Light or) Christ-energy.
Some people believe that Christ-energy keeps on living even if the
person dies. That of God was in Tom and Tom’s (light) Christ-energy is
here, inspiring us. Tom followed Jesus as his example.
Place the cross (or candle), the heart and the peace symbol on the front of the mat.
Another man named George Fox started Quakerism. He told us to “be
patterns, be examples in every country, place, or nation that you visit
then you’ll walk cheerfully across the earth and help bring to light
that of God in everybody. You will be seen as a blessing in their eyes
and you will receive a blessing from that of God within them.”
Tom felt blessed as he worked happily with the people in Iraq. Tom Fox
followed his teacher George Fox and he was a peacemaker.
Tom Fox lived as he believed was right. And he died. BUT THAT IS NOT
THE END OF THE STORY! Tom saw that when one candle goes out, many
more get lit. Others will become peacemakers and follow Tom as an
example, just as Tom and George Fox followed Jesus. Set up more candles.
Sit quietly for a moment.
In silence, light the candles and leave them lit while doing the wondering questions.
■ I wonder what part of the story you liked best?
■ I wonder how you might be a peacemaker in your life
■ I wonder if you have ever been a peacemaker?
■ I wonder what you might do as a peacemaker when you
are a grown-up?
■ I wonder if it was hard for Tom Fox to forgive people
that hurt him?
■ I wonder what the candles in the story represent?
■ I wonder what is the most important part of the story for
■ I wonder where you are in the story. I wonder what part
of the story is about you?
■ I wonder where is God in the story?
I am going to put the story of Tom Fox away. These lights are burning
for peace. Even when I blow them out, in our hearts, they are still
burning for peace.