By Judy Lumb.
I have admired and been inspired by the writing of Marcelle Martin in Friends Journal, so I was very happy to learn that her book was released. It is a very effective juxtaposition of vignettes from the lives of early Friends and contemporary Friends. She divides the spiritual journey into ten elements: longing, seeking, turning within, openings, refiner’s fire, community, leadings, the cross, abiding, and perfection. She elucidates each element with writing in journals by early Friends and then with descriptions of the lives of contemporary Friends. Then she told her own spiritual journey. I read these one or two a day over a period of time and found them all very inspiring. But then I got to the heart of the matter, why she wrote the book:
“… [H]umanity faces great challenges. Environmental destruction and worldwide economic instability could bring disasters of great magnitude. In order to survive the social and ecological changes that have been set in motion by our disruption of the planet’s ecology, the human race needs to respond with a shift of consciousness sufficient to dramatically change our collective behaviour. We need to learn to live with one another, and with all of creation, in healing and sustainable ways.
“Important changes were ushered into the world through the faithful efforts of many Quakers described in these pages. Their struggles, experiments and discoveries helped to make space for something new in human thinking and being. Seventeenth-century Quakers contributed significantly to new experiments in religious freedom, democracy, and equality. Contemporary Friends have continued to bring greater truth and love into individual lives and communities and also into global and national systems. …
“Only with divine guidance and only by allowing divine wisdom and healing to come through us can we collectively make the shift of consciousness needed in our time. It is crucial, therefore, to wake up more fully to our relationship to the indwelling Spirit of God and to our place in creation. To follow the divine will for us in this time of change, it will not be sufficient to believe that Christ―or any other sacred being―has already saved us. Something more fundamental than just this belief is required. We must fully wake up to the divine Reality that suffuses the world and makes all things sacred.”