Tide of Light

February 12, 2019

As young George Fox was discovering first-hand the love and presence of God, he reported, “I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness… I saw…the greatness and infinitude of the love of God, which cannot be expressed by words.”

Such words of hope were winsome in the dark time in mid-1600s England with its plagues, sharpening social conflict, even years of bloody civil war. Fox’ vision endures as a vital witness among Friends even today. God is here. God cares. God actively pursues the world and its peoples with power and love. We’re all invited to be shaped toward God’s love and to share in God’s work in the world.

But in times when the ocean of darkness and death seems rising to high tide, we might feel paralyzed to do much of anything. We can be overwhelmed by how much needs to be done or discouraged by thinking that what little we can do won’t matter much.

Precisely at this point God’s presence to us in love and power can lift us. In the midst of our doubt, our busyness, our scatteredness, and our weakness, God calls each of us to particular tasks that fit us and that we can do. Though we rightly admire “giants” of the faith, God’s work gets done not through the heroic actions of a few, but through the faithful actions of many. God’s particular call gives us both obligation and freedom. We know that God is counting on us to do our part, and we know that we don’t have to do it all. God is at work through us all. We can help each other discover our calls; we can encourage and cheer for each other’s faithfulness. We together can be part of the infinite tide of light and love that overcomes darkness and death.

(This essay was first published in the January 31, 2019 newsletter of the Newberg Emerging Friends Church.)

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