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#95  The Still Small

From the inception and beginning of what would later be called the Quaker faith, its first leader George Fox, and all Quakers ever since, have believed that each individual person has the capacity for direct dialogue with God, without the need for clerical or religious intermediaries, go-betweens, or interpreters. Anyone could do it, because there is a part of God in every one.

At Quaker Sabbath Meetings, the congregation all sit silently, respectfully, and reverently in the Presence of God, and as in the Psalm 46: "Be still and know that I am God." Sometimes God may speak to someone and they may receive a truth or guidance that is to be shared; if so, they stand and speak. At some meetings, several people may speak, and at some, no one does. It will be as spirit moves them.

At the time the Quaker church began (1640, 300 years ago) the other Protestant Christian churches believed in original sin, which held that all humans were bound to be drawn to sin. Although Quakerism is grounded in Christianity, George Fox and all other Quakers believed then, and still do today, that the divine spark that is in everyone, drives us towards the good in life – if we listen.

Early Quakers were first called Children of the Light, Publishers of Truth, Friends of Truth, and finally came to be called the Religious Society of Friends, or simply "Friends," as they are called today. The name of "Quakers" was originally a form of ridicule, but but it has become an acceptable term now.

"There is that of God in every person. If we can achieve stillness of Spirit, God will speak to us out of the silence."

The essence of Quakerism is that God finds individual expression within each of our souls and within each of our lives. Our responsibility is to seek our own inner voice and by following it, "Let our lives speak."