First off, I never know with absolute certainty that I’m being called to speak in Meeting. In discerning when to speak—for me—flow charts with the criteria for vocal ministry are not particularly helpful. Instead, I attend to emotions and physical responses.
Some Friends feel a fast heartbeat when Spirit moves them. My heart doesn’t beat faster, but I have a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach and a premonition that I’ll feel depressed after Meeting if I don’t speak. Also, I often ask myself one question: “Is this message likely to resonate with at least some Friends who are present?” After delivering my vocal ministry, I usually feel a sensation of relief that the “ordeal” is over.
Certainly, vocal ministry is never to be taken lightly, but I hope that Friends who rarely or never speak will be moved to do so in Meeting. After all, speaking in the Spirit is a service to the community and a fulfillment of duty. May God grant that vocal ministry be a cherished part of Meetings at Old Chatham!
~ Richard Russell
This blog was set up to post content of interest to Old Chatham Quaker members and attenders. Posts related to one's own personal spiritual journey, reports based on interviews with others, and reflections on Quaker-related topics are welcome. Posts by individuals are personal expressions and do not necessarily reflect those of the Meeting as a whole.
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