Recently I was reading Thomas Kelly’s A Testament of Devotion and thinking about how my thinking has changed over the years, and how I have come to emphasize different things. When I first read the opening paragraph of this book (in 2004), I wrote in the margin, “These are the most powerful words I have ever read outside of Scripture.” What a strong statement. I don’t know if I’d write that now were I to read the same paragraph for the first time. I’m glad I wrote it then. Like any good Quaker, Kelly emphasizes “the Light Within” – in other words, Christ lives deep within us all, waiting for us to Yield to this “inner Speaking Voice” lying at the heart of life with God.

Right now I don’t care about the real philosophical or theological problems involved in making such claims. All I care to say presently is that there’s truth here that we neglect at our peril. There is a dimension to life with God expressed by this language of inwardness and mysticism without which we are practicing something less than the faith shared by our Fathers and Mothers, our Poets and Prophets, our Activists and Mystics, our Apostles and Jesus. Somewhere in this mystery of loving God and loving people lies the reality of what Kelly calls “a more subterranean sanctuary of the soul, where the Light Within never fades, but burns, a perpetual Flame, where the wells of living water of divine revelation rise up continuously, day by day and hour by hour, steady and transfiguring” (5). It is in receptive response to this loving divine initiative Quakers call the Light Within that Calvary love makes Jesus’ joy complete, and it is here that truly cruciform ministry begins.

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