Letters - 31 March 2017

From prayer to industrial strategy

Prayer and the kingfisher

Prayer is satisfying for some, yet frustratingly elusive for others. Is there anyone out there?

We were recently out walking the dog on quiet suburban paths alongside water channels linking balancing ponds. I was alert to the possibility of a kingfisher, a pleasure bestowed only a few times in the nineteen years we have lived here. Even so, we were startled by the flash of brilliant blue and watched as it rested, revealing its rusty chest and piratical face. Then it was gone, leaving a sense of joy and wonder.

I pray sometimes, usually quiet reflection, and any words in my head are mostly to give thanks. If I’m in beseeching mode then it is for strength and insight to cope – for me or others – or to make choices that speak to God’s condition.

I rarely sense a response except, occasionally, I feel a warm flow of love refuelling my strength and wellbeing. Even more rarely, but wonderfully, I have a sense of affirmation of the right path to choose. At these times my heart leaps with joy.

So yes, my prayer is like walking. It gives me pleasure, renews my soul and invigorates my body. If God or the kingfisher only turn up once in a while I still know they are there, watching and listening. They are not just there for me, but every so often they give a jolt and remind me of bounty unbound.

Brian Ashley

We are all Quakers

Michael Wright says in his excellent and reassuring article (24 March) ‘my imagination will no longer stretch to the concept that any creative intelligence responsible for the billions of stars… is going to be guiding the discernment of my small Local Meeting’.

However, if the same sentence is rendered in the passive: ‘…that the discernment of my small Local Meeting is going to be guided by [some] creative intelligence responsible for the billions of stars’, I wondered whether Michael might find that his imagination could stretch to the concept? It takes away the more unpalatable concept of intent on the part of ‘some creative intelligence’.

I, too, find my mind boggled more than somewhat by the notion that an intelligence, which might have created something as vast as the universe we currently perceive, might also focus its will on such a tiny aspect of its creation as Michael’s small Local Meeting – let alone one particular individual human being! However, one can only ponder the proclivities of such an intelligence.

Noël Staples

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