Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Silent Worship

I walked into the small room in the annex of St John's Cathedral. There were chairs arranged in a circle, with two other people sitting on them. I took a seat and closed my eyes. More people drifted in. One of them placed a bench in the middle of the circle, on which he placed some books, a fewBibles and a lit candle. During the next hour the silence was broken only once, when someone asked us to pray for a fellow 'Friend' who had somehow chosen to sleep on the streets. The hour passed surpringly swiftly, thus ended my first Quaker meeting.

During this hour of silent worship, random thoughts drifted in and out of my head. I chased them away and tried to focus on God. At times I prayed. For the last ten minutes I picked up a book on Quakers and started reading. Then someone stood up and thanked everyone for coming.

With the worship over everyone stayed on to chat. Looking around the room, I noticed that I was the youngest person in the group--which made for a nice change! I was one of two Chinese. They asked me why I wanted to come to a Quaker meeting. I mentioned Six Feet Under and my being bored with sermons. Another woman concurred, and talked about how uneasy she felt at a service when the pastor asked people to come up and be blessed. "I don't need you to bless me!" she thought at the time. I wondered if Quakerism attracts a certain type of people--individualistic, anti-establisment type. When I leant that Quakerism started in the 17th Century, it amazed me that people back then already thought that way.

One person asked me what church I attended before. It turned out that he also knew Jackie Pullinger, and attended the Vineyard Church back in the Hangfuk Camp days. What a small world!

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