Monday, January 21, 2008

Let Your Lives Speak

Elfrida Vipont Foulds, an English Quaker of the 20th Century, was most noted as an author of Children's books. A birthright Quaker she served as head of a Quaker school during World War II, and as clerk of the Meeting for Sufferings of London Yearly Meeting.

In this pamphlet she recreates for us some of the happenings of 1652 in the northwest country where she makes her home. She helps us interpret the events of those days in terms which give meaning to the challenges which face us today.

Centering on ten challenges of 1652, Elfrida Foulds begins the discussion with “The Challenge of Obedience” where Fox was inspired to climb Pendle Hill instead of proceeding along a more usual way of service. “To any but a prophet the choice would have seemed obvious and the choice would have been wrong.”
One inescapable conclusion is that a vision has to be earned. Who knows on what far mountain of the spirit the vision for our own day awaits us? It may be there even now, in place, in space, in time, but to behold it the seeker, or group of seekers, must accept the same challenge, the same inspired madness.

From there the challenges mount: “The Challenge of the Vision; of Recognition; of Swarthmore Hill; of the Outgoing Spirit; of Friendship; of Strength; of Steadfastness; of the Sowing; and The Challenge of Joy.” Of that last Elfrida urges that “the spirit of the early days of Quakerism will not be fully renewed in [this] century of its history until the full secret of that joy is rediscovered and expressed anew...”
The world today is hag-ridden by fear, as if indeed the witches and warlocks of old Pendle had come to life, to execute a fearsome vengeance on mankind...If we could take up the challenges of 1652, we should know that the Lord is at work in the darkness; that the ocean of love and light is unquenchable, yesterday, today and forever; that whatever may befall us, our joy no man taketh from us...

Read the complete Pendle Hill Pamphlet 71 by Elfrida Vipont Foulds:
Let Your Lives Speak

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