For about as long as I have been studying Hellenismos, I have been intermittently attending Quaker meeting. I am not, at this time, a Quaker Pagan, but I do find that the Quaker way can deepen my understanding of my gods, which strengthens my worship.
Today, I witnessed a very powerful message.
The meeting I attend is unprogrammed, which means that the congregation sits in silent worship, unless someone is moved to provide vocal ministry, at which point they would rise and speak the message in her heart.
(That’s my take on it, at least; an actual Quaker may see things differently.)
Vocal ministry is not common in this meeting, or so I’ve been told — it’s the only one I’ve ever attended. Two or three people may speak, or perhaps none at all until someone at last turns to his neighbor and says, “Welcome, friend,” and offering his hand to shake, signalling the end of worship.
Below the meeting room is the First Day school, attended by a varying number of children, ranging from the rowdy and precocious to the tirelessly rambunctious. Bits of song and play waft up through the floor, from time to time. But today, children were unbound. There was a particularly large group, and it was a rather fine day, so they went outside to play. The meeting house is a converted residence, the meeting room taking up much of the main floor, with the front doors leading into it directly and the another exit from the room directly opposite. The front door is generally open on warm days, and a towheaded toddler wandered near, but not into, the meeting room.
Soon thereafter, the back door to the meeting room quietly opened, and the toddler’s slightly older brother let out a screeching whoop! and ran through the middle of the meeting for worship, eyes only on catching his sibling.
Vocal ministry bubbled up after that. One man spoke of the “little divine messenger” who brought a message that it’s time to wake up. A woman later rose to say that she likened the pass-through to a speed boat zipping over the water, disrupting all in its path, but leaving no trace as the waters return to calm.
Devoted to Poseidon as I am, this last took my notice. Attending meeting makes me particularly sensitive to messages: the environment is conducive to them, like it is in dreams. This seemed like a very clear message, and what’s more, it was received by everyone. I don’t think each person heard it the same way, but I doubt each of us needed to hear it the same way, either. Some very devout Christians got as much out of the message as I did, and from how the conversation went afterwards, it was a message heard ’round the room.