What happened?

CG Jung, in a 1955 article for Time magazine, wrote, “I could not say I believe. I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call God.”

Meeting this morning was a remarkable one. I didn’t count how many Friends were present, but the Meeting House was very nearly full, so there must have been at least 30 of us. The silence deepened, became patterned; I had the sense that I was aware of each separate worshipper, and yet we were, in plain truth, one in the silence. The image that came to mind was of a radio telescope, its dish lifted to listen to the interstellar reaches: one dish, but its surface and its framework made up of many plates and beams of metal, each one essential to the whole.

Inevitably, perhaps, the analogy broke down when it came to the actual listening, for each of us heard what each of us heard: not one signal but many, a beautiful dapple of openings, leadings and awarenesses, secret to each, but woven into one in the silence we shared.

What happened? There was no message, nothing to believe in; but there was that which each of us knew, wordless and sure and particular. For some, I have no doubt, there would have been little they could have described – yet each Friend who spoke in ministry or afterword, or whom I talked to over coffee, seemed to have the sense that we had been travelling together on some journey we could scarcely understand. We were on the shore of a land we had not known. None of us had lived these moments before; and yet the ordinary light of morning that poured over the Japanese maple outside the kitchen window was given back transformed, the image of each intricate red leaf falling on our eyes like a new creation.

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