Recognizing the dignity of every person…Treating each person with respect…Rejecting all forms of discrimination…Looking for “that of God” in everyone — For centuries Quakers have strived to achieve greater equality in themselves, in their communities, and in their society. The testimony of Equality has made great change possible. It is the theme of this Fall issue of our newsletter.
—Friendly News Committee
For me, our Quaker testimonies all work together to shape my spiritual beliefs. In particular, the 2 testimonies of Equality and Earthcare are married together in my mind. They blend together a strong sense of connection and equality not just with other human beings, but also with nonhuman animals, trees, plants, birds, the fish in the sea and the earth we inhabit and walk upon. From NYYM Faith and Practice “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” All things are parts of God’s creation: the air and sky, rocks and minerals, animals and plants, the human race, the order of the universe. All natural resources are God’s gifts”. If the entire world is, as I believe, interconnected, does not the gift of spirit then make us all equal in the eyes of Spirit or the Creator? The following quote is from the Vision and Witness statements of Quaker
“ We are called to live in right relationship with all Creation, recognizing that the entire world is interconnected and is a manifestation of God. “It follows for me, then, that I am not “more than” this beautiful butterfly resting in my back yard before her long journey south. We are equal and one in the eyes of Spirit.
Equality has many layers of meaning and many dimensions. For Friends it begins with the understanding that we are each of us, both a physical being and a Spirit being. The Spirit is infinite and eternal and its presence within each of us unites us as a single family. When we Experience that oneness with the Eternal unchangeable moment we also experience it as elemental to all of life. When we allow that Experience to order our lives, then even religion recedes and only the Experience remains. Thus, we seek it both as community and as individuals. The following poem rose up in one of those Experiences while I was in Iceland last year