Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Visit to Washington, DC Friends Meeting, a Death and Martin Luther King

Meetinghouse main entrance (above)

Last weekend, I had the joy of attending the Washington, DC Friends Meeting (Quakers). This was my second visit and I enjoyed meeting the variety of folks that make up a typical Quaker Meeting.

During Meeting, it was announced that a much loved and integral member of the Meeting had just died an untimely, sudden death from a heart attack. Much sadness. I found it powerful to watch this spiritual community deal with this in a supportive, loving manner.

After Meeting, there was an event in the Meeting House celebrating Martin Luther King. We sang many songs of liberation, love and protest. I don't consider myself much of a singer, but I really got into this and belted out some of the songs. No windows broke. I had goose bumps during some of the songs. They were very empowering. We also listened to some of Dr King's words and had a time of silence, as is the Quaker way. I have been to past MLK celebrations and found them to often be, at least for me, the creation of an icon with little power to inspire, or perhaps more importantly, empower people to make change. These other gatherings often look at him like one looks at a photo or a statue. Like a moment in time. When his words and actions were directed at the present and ALSO the future, after he was gone. The combinaton of songs, his words and the silence while within my spiritual community felt different. Much more energizing. Now...........I want to be clear that Quakers aren't partiularly "better" at this than other groups nor do I want to in any way diminish other King celebrations. But for me, at that time, it felt different and I noticed that difference.

It was a wonderful day.

1 comment:

Suzy said...

I read a book called "Freedom's Daughters" about women in the Civil Rights movement, and song was an integral part of bringing about change. Sweet Honey in the Rock grew out of SNCC, for example.