As One Whose Eyes Are Fixed On Jesus
Some years ago, I was giving a tour of my meetinghouse and grounds to a person unfamiliar with Quakers. When we entered the meetinghouse, my guest looked around at the simple benches and bare walls and asked, “Where is the altar?” My immediate response was to say the altar appears in our midst when the community gathers in worship. And, at the heart of that worship—whether it be in praise, prayer, silent waiting, or prophetic speaking—is the living presence of Jesus Christ.
One of our seventeenth century forbearers, Robert Barclay, describes his first encounter with Quaker worship as follows: “When I came in to the silent assemblies of God’s people, I felt a secret power among them, which touched my heart, and as I gave way unto it, I found the evil weakening in me, and the good raised up, and so I became thus knit and united unto them, hungering more and more after the increase of this power and life, whereby I might feel myself perfectly redeemed.”
In the deepest part of my faith, I know the reality of this “secret power” is still very much alive among us. As we gather in worship, at the altar in our midst, with our eyes, hearts, minds, and souls fixed upon the living presence of Jesus Christ—who has been raised up, even exalted—we are healed, transformed, and sent forth to bring this Good News to the whole world.
Query for Reflection
How would I respond to the question, “Where is the altar?”
Journal or share with a Friend a powerful experience you have had of the living presence of Jesus Christ in Meeting for Worship.
Creating and sustaining God, thank you for the gift of your Son, whose life has transformed mine. Help me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus so I may be a good representative when I carry your love to the world.