Ann K. Riggs
July 2, 2001
Friends General Conference Gathering
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Introduction — Stillness
Materials giving information about the 2001 Gathering and its theme included a memorable quotation from Thomas Kelly and a reflection on the value of stillness:
“We hope you will join us in the beautiful mountains of southwestern Virginia to focus on Stillness, that place where we find, in the words of Thomas Kelly, that ‘objective, dynamic Presence which enfolds us all, nourishes our souls, speaks glad unutterable comfort within us, and quickens in us depths that had before been slumbering.’”
In the stillness of the Gathered meeting, Kelly writes, another form of stillness is disrupted, “depths that had before been slumbering,” are quickened. Stillness leads to awakening from stillness. What can this mean?
In my remarks this evening, as a reflection on the Gathering theme, “Stillness: Surrounding, Sustaining, Strengthening” I would like to offer some suggestions for a way of understanding this insight of Kelly’s. In order to pursue this, I would like to suggest and consider three images for you to call up in your minds. The first of those images is the stillness of a long slow summer’s afternoon in the sun, not too hot, just warm. The second is stillness in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute; and finally, the stillness of the cross.
I use the word image here in part because I am going to ask you to draw up images in your minds. In part, I use the word image here to hint at the status I wish to give to these notions.
I offer them as ways of thinking about and remembering complexes of ideas and feelings that might otherwise be hard to take and keep hold of. Like most attempts to give insight into the spiritual life, the life of the Spirit, what I have to offer tonight is always less than I want to say and more than I can say in any linear manner.
The Stillness of a Long Slow Summer’s Afternoon in the Sun
Some years ago now I worked as a hospital chaplain at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, not too far from here.
When I was working there, I often had the feeling that the night times were the best. The hospital would be still in a certain kind of way. Some people would be sleeping. Lights would be turned down. I would sometimes be overwhelmed by a sense that the Spirit was surrounding me and sustaining me.
The day times were much more hectic and irritating, really. You had to get along with all the staff and deal with all the ins and outs of hospital life. But the occasion I am remembering now did happen in the daytime. I was in a room too small for the occupants. There was machinery all over the place–all kinds of dials and lights that I didn’t really know much about, being a theologian rather than a medical expert. Outside the window, the sun sank, slowly, slowly down.
Over the course of several hours, I was present with a family as one of their members died quietly, surrounded by people whom he loved and who loved him. This is the first image I would ask you to call to your mind.
The man who was dying had been very sick for quite a long time. He had come to a decision that the quality of his life was not being improved by extraordinary interventions aimed at supporting his lingering in this world. He was relatively young, perhaps about 45 years old, but there was nothing further that medicine could do for him. Neither comfort nor any hope for cure was being offered by all the medical equipment surrounding us. He was, however, deeply at peace with his parents and siblings. His wife was ready to let him go.
They were a family of deep religious conviction – Presbyterian I think – and their minister was with them also. There was another person from his congregation elsewhere in the building also dying so he was grateful for my presence. As I walked in to be with them, really all I had to offer was to stand in the Presence myself. And that was enough.
This man was dying before all the physical interventions had changed him. He wasn’t emaciated. My recollection of him is rather of a beautiful person lying in a bed, surrounded by people who loved him. He took off his light oxygen mask and turned to those around him to tell them “I love you,” before he settled into a quiet rest of several hours.
His family at first had expected some kind of sudden change, but this was a leisurely passing. As the time wore on his family got a little tired and I was able to persuade his wife and mother to let me take a turn holding his hand while they went to get something to eat and a brief rest for themselves. To my surprise, they agreed and came back refreshed.
I suggested that they were enjoying a slow summer afternoon together in the sun. The dreamy, gentle stillness of a peaceful afternoon together with those you love settled over us, surrounding, strengthening and sustaining everyone. Time passed and the shadows grew long. Breathing grew slower and more shallow but was never labored or strained. There was no evidence of pain or distress. Nothing disturbed that peacefulness as one well-loved was released into the care of the eternal One.
The words of the psalmist addressed to God might well apply to the feeling of that day.
From Psalm 139:
Where can I go from your spirit?Psalm 139:7-12 NRSV)
Or where can I flee from you presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest
limits of the sea,
even there your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light
around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Or from Psalm 131:
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great
and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul within me is like a weaned child.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.
(Psalm 131 incorporating alternative reading in verse 2)
Or in the words of George Fox, one might say that that afternoon, we knew one another in that which is eternal.
Experiences of the kind I had that sunny day in Durham, that are recorded in the Bible and in the journals and other writings of the religious heroes of Quakerism are so deeply appealing. We long to have all our moments seem blessed and, in fact, to be blessed by this peaceful quiet.
Stillness in The Magic Flute
I do not know if perhaps you have seen the movie of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute made by Ingmar Bergman. If you have, perhaps you can recall images of the film or perhaps you have seen a stage production of the opera. In the story, again and again that which seems good turns out to be not so good, that which appears evil turns out to be something else. Institutions and events are found to have quite different meaning from what first appears. And characters are discovered to be duplicitous, deceptive, liars. In the opera’s world, even stillness turns out to be deceptive. It fails to communicate the loving thoughts of the central figures to one another, causing confusion and pain. And it serves as a shield for the mounting of the forces of evil.
The story begins with a charming prince, Tamino, running for his life. He is saved from a fearsome beast, by three veiled ladies. Noting how charming the prince is, they quickly become competitive with one another and each seeks to talk the others into leaving herself alone with the desirable young man, without acknowledging her intentions. Tamino awakens to find the beast dead and no one else around. “Is it my imagination,” he wonders to himself, “that I am still alive?”
Papageno, a bird catcher, appears and allows Tamino to believe that he, Papageno, has killed the monster and claims that he used his bare hands in doing so. His lie is punished by a padlock on his mouth. Later the Queen of the Night, in whose land the story has begun, pardons him and allows her ladies to release him. With the removal of his padlock he must promise never to lie again. All sing together that if all liars had their mouths padlocked, there would be less hate and defamation in the world – love and brotherhood would endure.
Yet, the Queen of the Night is far from a figure of virtue, herself. Tamino is entangled by her in a real love for her daughter Pamina who has been kidnaped and is being held in a castle. But the Queen’s primary interest as the story unfolds is in having the kidnapper killed and her own power augmented. At one point she tells Pamina to perform the murder or cease to be her daughter.
Tamino and Papageno are sent on their way with gifts from the Queen and her ladies – a set of magically lovely bells and the magic flute. “But how do we find the castle?” asks Papageno. The Queen’s ladies tell them that three boys, young, handsome, sweet and wise, will hover above them on their journey. The boys will guide them and advise them. “Follow only their advice.” And in fact the boys do give very good advice and much needed.
They are called upon to intervene later when the prince and the bird catcher are engaged in an arduous testing and development of their commitment to wisdom.
Tamino finds the castle, the Temple of Wisdom, at a moment of confrontation with reversals and duplicity. Having been refused entrance into the temples of nature and reason, he walks with less assurance into the Temple of Wisdom. He knocks. An old priest is surprised when, in answer to his question, Tamino says he is seeking Love and Virtue within the walls of this temple.
“The words are from a high-minded individual!” says the priest. “However, from your demeanor, I can see that you are inflamed with thoughts of death and revenge.”
“Only to take revenge on a villain.”
“No villain is to be found here,” replies the priest. He acknowledges that the kidnapper, indeed, does rule these lands and that he rules within the Temple of Wisdom.
“Everything is hypocrisy!” cries Tamino and is about to depart.
He is enticed into a conversation that begins to unfold wisdom for him. Tamino is convinced after this conversation that he should enter an arduous ordeal to seek wisdom and Pamina’s hand as a reward. He is willing to undergo every trial. Papageno is more hesitant. He thinks maybe a good meal would be satisfactory until he sees there’s a chance there’s girl in it for him, too. So off they go to their unknown trial.
Included in these trials is the anguish of being with their beloved partners and unable to speak to them. In this stillness everything is miscommunicated. Stillness here is not the answer, it is more of the confusion. At one point, having vowed silence, Tamino is turned away from his beloved as she pleads with him, “Speak to me, speak to me,” and he can only sigh and turn away.
This is a very different form of stillness, a very different side of stillness.
The reversals of the opera reach their climax toward the end, when the wicked are gathering their forces to storm the Temple of Wisdom and take down all that has been built there. The leader of that group says, “Stille, stille, stille.” In the cloak of silence they mount their attack. In the stillness evil is flourishing.
All of a sudden, however, bright sunshine breaks through, casting the dark ones into eternal night. The rays of the sun expel the night and annihilate the power of the hypocrite.
It is a familiar conclusion to us. Light casts out darkness. The light is triumphant. And we are gratified to see that the happy lovers get to have their party at the conclusion of the story and are left in charge of the world.
In many ways, the world of Mozart’s imagination is very like the world in which most of us live every day. Things, people, situations are not what they first appear. Hypocrisy and simple illusion, lack of wisdom or knowledge, and intentional commitments to evil are all jumbled together in the world around us and in the world within us. We hurt the people we love. We lack the information we need and make mistakes of judgement. We believe a good story and are taken in by claims that are unjust. We are weak and foolish and anxious. And we experience stillness that generates pain instead of healing and covers a world of sin.
Mozart tells his story in a poetic, mythical narrative of heroic gods. Here there are temples and priests of wisdom, magical musical instruments, children who appear in their flying machine at the right moment and the spectacular Queen of the Night. The opera closes with a happy ending to the story, as we hope all of our stories will end.
The Stillness of the Cross
The third image I would like to ask you to call up in your mind is an image from Christian history, an image of the Cross. Our consideration of this image will be a poetical and narrative way to talk coherently about God. I am not concerned now with the historicity of this image, but its ability to aid us in understanding Thomas Kelly’s description of the stillness in which the “objective, dynamic Presence . . . quickens in us depths that had before been slumbering.”
The image I have in mind and would ask you to draw up is not a bare cross, not for instance “the old rugged cross” or a gold or otherwise decorated “cross of glory.” The image I would ask you to think of shows Jesus on the cross. He is not in anguish and pain. Nor does he have his eyes open. I would ask you to imagine Jesus on the cross with his eyes gently closed, his face at peace, “sleeping” in death.
Many FGC Friends have spent little time or thought on the cross as an element in the biblical story, or in the Christian heritage and the Quaker tradition in particular. Not many people read William Penn’s No Cross, No Crown these days, and our emphasis on God’s present nearness tends to obscure this element of the Christian heritage even for Friends who think of themselves as valuing Christian concepts and ways of talking about God.
Other Friends have been damaged in previous religious communities by ideas connected with the cross and are in recovery. And, finally, some Friends find all Christian notions unfamiliar and undesirable and emphasize the unity of God or the inability of words, including words like “God,” to speak accurately of the mysterious experience of our Meetings for Worship and our personal turnings to stillness. I ask you all to bear with me.
I am going to use this image of Jesus resting, sleeping in death on the cross as a way to speak about a living experience of God. The idea of Jesus on the cross makes some people extremely uncomfortable because it seems to encourage unfortunate levels of self-debasement. And certainly self-emptying is the point in the biblical narrative. God had such overwhelming compassion for us that he emptied himself to become one of us.
The biblical narratives always slip away from being entirely descriptive. They always make allusions to other parts of the biblical story. If we look for a moment at some aspects of that story while you’re holding this image in your mind, we can get at something, I think, of what Kelley was talking about. We read in the Gospel of Mark, which you may know is considered the earliest statements about the life of Jesus:
They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”Mark 15:21-39
Now what are the important elements here with your image of Jesus on the cross? Among them certainly is that he was thirsty, and he was presumably rather uncomfortable on the cross. He was experiencing the kinds of pains that come from the physical limits of being human. And in the biblical story these are given serious attention. It hurts to be human. It hurts to be mocked. It hurts to be needing food and water. It hurts to be in physical confrontation with the limits of our ability to go on.
And we hear Jesus in some kind of spiritual anguish. He’s crying out. He’s talking to God. He’s yelling at God: “What do you think you are doing. I don’t really like this. Let’s do it another way.” He’s having an interchange with God about the spiritual pain of his situation. And there are references to Old Testament figures, Old Testament content. In particular there are references to Psalm 22.
That Psalm begins with this same “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from hearing me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2)
But the Psalm, at its end, comes to a different place. Because God does intervene. God’s hand does reach out, in the midst of this anguish, of the Psalmist and of Jesus.
“For [the Lord] did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.” (22:24)
The claim that is being made here is that even when it is not a long slow peaceful summer afternoon, even when we are still in the middle of fluteland, where all is deception and confusion, even there – the sustaining Presence reaches out to us and transforms our pain into something else.
One of the favorite notions of early Christian thought was recorded in the first letter of Peter. (I Peter 3:18-20) While Jesus slept in death on the cross, he was in the Spirit with those in prison. And in the text, what “those in prison” means are those who have already died. He was in Sheol, with those who were gone, releasing them, being with them. In this stillness on the cross, everything that is dead is being awoken, being made alive, released, brought to a fulness and flourishing of human life. That’s the image I want you to think about.
In the “sleep” on the cross, in the stillness of the cross, God acts. We are called to participate in the action of God, in the hospital, in the confusions and disorders of fluteland, and by having the depths that lie slumbering awakened by the objective, dynamic Presence.
Now, first of all, we have to be open to this awakening within. If we turn to stillness in the meeting for worship or in our own moments of meditation, and we are closed, those depths cannot be awakened. God does not force us to be healed and restored and sustained.
Beyond being open, we have to be aware also that the days are not all going to be those long summer days. We may walk out of Meeting on many First Days and we feel great. We may be convinced that we have found a secret place that we can stay in all week.
But it doesn’t really happen that way. We go home and the coffee pot has been left on . . . one little thing leads to another. Or we go home and the big problems of life overwhelm us and somehow that feeling you think you can just walk out the meetinghouse door with slips away. Or at home, you just barely get down stairs after your quiet time in the morning and it slips away.
God is still there. God is still awakening everything that is slumbering within us. Perhaps now we’re the ones on the cross, and Jesus, as the biblical story said, is in solidarity with us. And the dead parts of us are still being awoken.
God doesn’t give up. God is still there. People are spitting on us. God is still there. The dynamic, objective Presence is working when we are sleeping, when we are awake, still working to bring the light out of the darkness.
It was only after I had been thinking for quite a long time about this evening’s event that it dawned on me that the Gathering creates a moment for us to reflect together on Friends General Conference – on ourselves as a community. Both for those who are able to be here and those who listen to or read about our activities later, the Gathering is the occasion of a kind of State of the Conference remarks.
Jerry Frost’s overview presentation last year [published in shortened form in Friends Journal, October 2000; and in an extended form on the web by FGC] as very much in this vein. I cannot claim to have such a vantage point with which to see FGC as does Frost. I serve on the FGC Central Committee as an invited member of the Christian and Interfaith Relations Committee (CIRC). I travel sometimes to monthly meetings with CIRC and represent Friends in ecumenical conversation, most recently at the world level in a consultation among the Historic Peace Churches. I do have a few observations to offer which may serve to stimulate your own reflections on ourselves, however. And I will use the three images I have just offered you to shape my reflections.
The first observation I would like to reflect upon is that among us there is a tremendous depth and variety of spirituality. We have a very rich community life. We all have our own Meetings. I have two Meetings. In my Meetings there are people who are living lives of great devotion. They undertake family tasks of relentless demands. They are not simply making it through, they are flourishing. This is a spiritual achievement that we should be celebrating.
There are people who carry out enormously complex and challenging work lives. You are probably among them. If you are retired, you are probably working harder than you used to work and have even more complicated work lives. You have one commitment after another – doing the things you finally get to do. These are forms of success that we should take time to remember and be grateful for.
A few weeks ago I was at the Friends Association for Higher Education annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, and I saw there someone I had not seen in about ten years. This is someone who is not herself a Friend, but whose mother had been a birthright Friend and had returned to Quakerism very, very late in her life. So late in her life that in fact she died before the Clearness Committee could report to the Monthly Meeting that they had found clearness that she should be a member of our Meeting. The memorial service for the mother was in our Meetinghouse and she is buried in our burying ground.
The first thing the daughter said to me this past month was, “I want to thank you again, your Meeting was there for us. Your Meeting filled the last days of my mother’s life with meaning and I am so grateful.”
I don’t think this happens only in our Meeting.
There is a downside to this same ability to care for one another. We are such good nurturers that this can become a kind of distortion in itself. Our interactions can come to a point where one can almost hear us saying: “I need to nurture somebody, so you must need to be nurtured.” It seems to me to be a particularly problematic set of unnoticed attitudes of what we might call over-nurturing when we need to include others who do not want to be included among us to meet our own needs. This can become a willful failure to notice that others have their own lives and their own ways and we have engaged in a kind of failure to notice their otherness.
Finally, I have some observations that come from the vantage point of being at the Historic Peace Churches Consultation at the beginning of the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence.1
As part of the work of turning the idea of a decade of committed effort by this world-wide fellowship into successful action, the World Council of Churches requested the Historic Peace Churches to offer insight and aid. Representatives of the Church of the Brethren, the Mennonite Churches and the Religious Society of Friends met for four days together and for a fifth day with staff at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.
I went to Switzerland with uneasiness and I imagine others did as well. I knew there would be participants there with whom I did not agree. And, in fact, we did not agree on some important theological issues. But we found ourselves nevertheless in a level of unity that we had not expected or known to hope for. We committed ourselves to meet again in two years for further consultations.2
Out of this week’s visit, one of the things that became obvious to me is that we have an important tradition of analysis of the roots and causes of violence, the seeds of war. Others from the Historic Peace Churches who were little familiar with Quaker history were astonished by the Journal of John Woolman. In recent decades, our partner Peace Churches have come to engage in analysis of this kind. But a document of this kind, a tradition extending from the 1750s and 1760s, is a living treasure among us. We need to sustain that work and continue that heritage.
The most obvious and most notable characteristic of John Woolman’s analytical vision is its sense of the interconnectedness and complexity of difficulties and situations that give rise to violence.
In a single passage he notes the interrelatedness of violence and seemingly unconnected aspects of daily life, between the individual and the civil community, individual and family, English and forced African settlers and the indigenous people, misuse of intoxicants, Christians and followers of other religions, errors of judgement, defeat before superior force, multiple and rapidly shifting economies, limits in natural resources, transportation difficulties making necessary or useful trade difficult, loss of traditional ways and inheritances, a deep sense of God’s love for all and the responsibilities of those who enjoy plenty to “a constant attention to divine love and wisdom.”3
As I rode over the barren hills my meditations were on the alterations of the circumstances of the natives of this land since the coming in of the English. The lands near the sea are conveniently situated for fishing. The lands near the rivers, where the tides flow, and some above, are in many places fertile and not mountainous, while the running of the tides makes passing up and down not easy with any kind of traffic. Those natives have in some places, for trifling considerations, sold their inheritance so favorably situated, and in other places been driven back by superior force, so that in many places, as their way of clothing themselves is now altered from what it was and they far removed from us, [they] have to pass over mountains, swamps, and barren deserts, where traveling is very troublesome, in bringing their skins and furs to trade with us.
By the extending of English settlements and partly by English hunters, those wild beasts they chiefly depend on for a subsistence are not so plenty as they were, and people too often, for the sake of gain, open a door for them to waste their skins and furs in purchasing a liquor which tends to the ruin of them and their families.
My own will and desires being now very much broken and my heart with much earnestness turned to the Lord, to whom alone I looked for help in the dangers before me, I had a prospect of the English along the coast for upward of nine hundred miles where I have traveled. And the favorable situation of the English and the difficulties attend-ing the natives in many places, and the Negroes, were open before me. And a weighty and heavenly care came over my mind, and love filled my heart toward all mankind, in which I felt a strong engage-ment that we might be obedient to the Lord while in tender mercies he is yet calling us, and so attend to pure universal righteousness as to give no just cause of offense to the Gentiles, who do not profess Christianity, whether the blacks from Africa or the native inhabitants of this continent.4
We need to be attentive to this tradition of analysis. We need to nurture this kind of clearheaded thought. The world is full of shallow, even trivial, attempts to improve it. We have a heritage of going beyond that, digging deeper, of thinking more seriously about the world. We need to treasure and care for this tradition as part of our spiritual heritage. This kind of analysis is a contribution that we need to keep making to the world.
The other observation that I brought back from the Consultation of Historic Peace Churches has to do with the difference between two of the images we have been considering, the differences between stillness image one, of the long summer afternoon, and stillness image three, the stillness of the cross, in the context of working with others.
As Friends, we pride ourselves on being universal, on reaching out to everyone. But in actual fact, as many of us have discovered, other people do not see the world the way we see it. Other people of good will believe things different from what we believe. My impression is that we have too often, in our work with others, looked for image number one. But working with others is most often like image number three. It is tough.
If we want to participate fully in the Decade to Overcome Violence, and I hope many of us will, we will need to accept that it is not an easy path. It is because God gives us something to carry us beyond the discomforts of the fact that we and our partners often do not agree, that we will be able to move forward and create something new together.
God’s stillness is not like our stillness. Even though God was part of the stillness of that summer’s day, that is not usually how it is. God’s peace does come, but in a way that we cannot comprehend. God’s peace passes our comprehension. In our Meetings and in our lives, following the Spirit, we can be led to participate in ways that go beyond our ways toward God’s ways. God’s stillness in us and our meetings both sustains and strengthens us and calls us to work at sustaining and strengthening our own attentiveness to the elusive Presence in our lives.
I have suggested here three images of stillness that I hope might be useful in thinking about and meditating upon the stillnesses we experience and those we seek to experience more often.
The first image we considered was the stillness of a long, slow summer’s day in the sun, surrounded by people whom we love and who love us. It was permeated by a sense of the nearness of a comforting Presence that surrounds and sustains.
This is something that does come to us. But it is not all there is. In the world we live in, sometimes silences are filled with miscommunication and stillness serves to cover the deceit of evil.
The third image was the stillness of the Cross. This stillness speaks to us about there being something more within us that God awakens, when we cannot see any way to go forward, when we cannot see any way to know more.
The advance materials for this FGC Gathering included a reference to Psalm 46, which is a fitting way to close tonight:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though
the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city, it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns….
Be still, and know that I am God!Psalm 46:1-5, 10
1. For an introduction to the Decade and information on how to learn more about the WCC and its work on overcoming violence see Ann K. Riggs, “The North American Launch of the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence,” Quaker Theology Vol. 3 No. 2, (2001):7-24.
2. The Epistle sent from the group was published in Friends Journal 47 (2001):39.
3. Journal and Major Essays, 129.
4. Ibid., 128-129.