John 15: 9-17
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
You might be surprised to learn this, but not all Quakers are like those in your home meeting. I know this because when I worked for Indiana Yearly Meeting years ago, one of the aspects of the job that I appreciated most was the opportunity to visit a wide range of monthly meetings and experience their worship styles and cultures. And this is just among a few dozen Friends United Meeting churches our immediate geographic area!
In my current role at Earlham School of Religion, I have been able to expand this circle even wider – visiting yearly meetings from Southern Appalachia to Philadelphia to monthly meetings like Whittier Friends Church all the way out in California. It’s a blessing to get to know, learn, and worship with Quakers in all of these places.
Just this past summer I was able to attend a portion of the annual sessions for Wilmington Yearly Meeting. To give you a flavor of the diversity of that yearly meeting, you should know that it includes meetings from Tennessee to Ohio. It counts among its pastors ESR graduates you might know such as Jonathan Goff, Julie Rudd, and the recently retired Donne Hayden. But it is also the only Yearly Meeting I’ve attended where I’ve been told that ESR graduates nothing but flakes and that I needed to vote for Donald Trump.
Ah, the diversity of Quakerdom!