Quote for September
In the geography and society in which we live, September is a time of many changes. School starts. Chilly days occur. Many organizations change officers, start new campaigns, begin meetings or rehearsals or workshops again after the summer break. And some trees flash red warnings: fall is on the way. Take charge of the changes in your own life. It's easy just to let things happen, but you can be intentional: you can make positive differences in your life, in the lives of those around you, in the world. As anthropologist Margaret Mead famously said (and she should know!), “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For indeed that's all who ever have.” Change that is consistent with our Quaker testimonies would make our world a better place.
In response to the question “Why does Quaker service work matter?” Jane Orion Smith (former General Secretary of the Canadian Friends Service Committee) made the following statement:
The world yearns for justice and peace — calling us to respond. Because service work is rooted in a deep knowing, that knowing emboldens us to not give up, whether or not there’s progress, whether or not there are people who seem to care, that Inward Voice keeps us going. There are issues that aren’t popular and can take decades, maybe even centuries, to resolve, but Quakers keep working on them. We can’t do it on our own strength — we need each other and we need our spiritual centre. Few are willing to keep on with issues that don’t seem to show results, but Quakers are looking at more than outward signs.
— Jane Orion Smith
Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.
— George Fox, 1656
Perhaps more wonderful still is the way in which beauty breaks through. It breaks through not only at a few highly organised points, it breaks through almost everywhere. Even the minutest things reveal it as well as do the sublimest things, like the stars. Whatever one sees through the microscope, a bit of mould for example, is charged with beauty. Everything from a dewdrop to Mount Shasta is the bearer of beauty. And yet beauty has no function, no utility. Its value is intrinsic, not extrinsic. It is its own excuse for being. It greases no wheels, it bakes no puddings. It is a gift of sheer grace, a gratuitous largesse. It must imply behind things a Spirit that enjoys beauty for its own sake and that floods the world everywhere with it. Wherever it can break through, it does break through, and our joy in it shows that we are in some sense kindred to the giver and revealer of it.
— Rufus Jones, 1920
I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again…
— Stephen Grellet, 1859
A good end cannot purify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, so that good may come of it.
— William Penn, 1644-1718
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