A Place to Stand

I have been a member of North Carolina Yearly Meeting conservative for over twenty years. I am currently the clerk of our small Monthly Meeting. I am a recorded elder and presently serve as the Recording Clerk of our Yearly Meeting's Ministers, Elders and Overseers. My name has been put forward to be the next clerk of North Carolina Yearly Meeting Conservative. By trade I am a philosophy professor.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Is the voice that speaks out in vocal ministry truly the voice of God or is it just some of the better reflections coming from ordinary human minds and personalities? There isn’t any doubt that vocal ministry is partially the latter. The divine message, passing as it does through a real human personality, picks up some of color from that mind as it passes through. But is there any real divine message at the core or are we just fooling ourselves about that? As I’ve said before in these essays, I don’t think there is an hard, incontrovertible evidence but that there is plenty of soft evidence for those who are inclined to look.

Yesterday I attended worship in the morning in my home meeting and then in the afternoon drove up to Woodland, NC for a memorial service for Henry Pulliam. Friends came from all over NC to attend as well as plenty of relatives and community members who came to honor this gentle Friend. The last piece of vocal ministry came from his twin brother Bruce. I don’t know how Bruce’s ministry effected others but its effect on me was sharp. The theme and some of the exact words Bruce used were the same as those spoken by another Friend hours earlier in Greenville. How did Bruce echo the previous message without having heard it himself? He did it by speaking the words he was given to speak.

Once a month I worship in Greenville and then travel down to Beaufort to meet with a small worship group there. Since I’ve been doing this for two years I’ve noticed similar echoes on more than one occasion. Whenever such an echo occurs I’ve learned that this message is being repeated for me. It is something that I personally need to pay particular attention to. By repeating something to me, that no one else will hear as repetition, it is God’s way of saying “Hey, I’m talking to YOU!” Stubborn as I am I’ve learned to pay attention. There’s something in that message for me and if I meditate on the message for a day, a week or sometimes longer, there will be spiritual fruit that results in due course. That these echoes are not mere coincidences is shown by the fruits that they yield.

There’s no point in mentioning the specific echo I heard yesterday because I haven’t lived with it fully enough to take the nourishment from it yet and besides I think the message was for me and not for everyone reading this. What I have to say to those who are reading this is: God has something to say to you. He’s patient and not too proud to repeat himself, bearing in mind that we are a little hard of hearing. Listen for echoes that are meant for you.


Blogger anj said...

All right. Three times within the last three days, I have read or had another read to me how beyond our comprehension God is. That the Creator would be beyond the ability of the created to fully comprehend, but not beyond the ability of the created to know, if they were created with that capacity. Echoes after I read your blog for the first time and felt that quickening in my belly that is often the Spirit saying "Stand up here, pay attention." These echoes speak to some anger I have been holding in the Light. It's not fully formed yet, but I believe they are an Opening. Thank you.

10:45 AM  
Blogger RichardM said...

I'm heartened to here this. If the echoes are bringing a hidden anger up to consciousness so that you can face it, that's a good thing. Anger can't be made to disappear by will-power or positive thinking. Holding it in the Light can expose it to a power that can deal with it. I think you should ponder this for a while and, depending on how deep it goes, maybe find some weighty Friend to talk it over. I'll hold you in the Light here.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, have had the experience of having something "echoed" to me, sometimes in different languages/ways. I'm fairly stubborn and Type-A myself, but I too am trying to learn to listen more, and I am happy to report that it is working. Thanks for sharing this.


11:58 AM  

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