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Tampa Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

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Following the Light

In some way, we all want to follow the call to holiness. We want to be people of Light. There is so much darkness all around us. It is up to us to dispel that ever-present night. So, how do we do that? We follow the Light. In our beliefs as Friends, that Light is present in the person and message of Jesus, in the scriptures, and in one another - seeing "that of God" in everyone.

To whom do we look to light our way? How do we become people of Light? The way Jesus obtained followers was different from that of other rabbis of his day. Most would-be disciples asked the rabbis for permission to study with them, giving the rabbis the power to accept or deny them. Jesus chose his disciples, and by doing so, put the choice to respond - to follow the Light of the World - in the hands of those he called. Jesus had many disciples, some of whom followed him sporadically, and some more permanently. There were those whom Jesus "sent forth" (the Greek word for apostle) to share the message that Jesus preached and exemplified. We do not really know much about who these apostles were and there is even disagreement between the gospel accounts: Who was included? Were there women in this chosen group? What is known is that they came from all walks of life and were able to internalize the message of Jesus and become his healing hands and his listening heart.

Most Christian faiths have interpreted Jesus' appointment of apostles as the tradition upon which ordained ministry is based. As Friends, we believe that each of us is called to this witness and guided by the Spirit's word and work in us. We are all ministers who are called to follow the Light and to be the Light that leads others (and ourselves) out of darkness. Let us be the flame that lights the way - the fire that enkindles hope in the world.