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Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

    In a way that no one could have foreseen, Palestine has become the ‘moral litmus test for the world’ (June Jordan). What does this mean for us as Friends of Truth? It means that the fierce tremor of the inward light is, or ought to be, especially active. More so if we are not to betray the tenderness within that awaits our response. If we are those who are coming to ‘know Christ their teacher, their counsellor, their shepherd to feed them, and their bishop to oversee them and their prophet to open to them…’[1] then our personal and corporate silence must not be complicit in liturgies of empire[2]that would neutralise the ‘revolutionary Christian message’[3] to which we are heirs.

    Everywhere in Gaza we see the covenant crucified. In the living, the dead, and the dying. The covenant of life, ‘sanctified by the Word’[4], is met with genocide. An obscenity beyond description. 2,000-pound bombs and a ‘sophisticated’ military technology are ‘devouring the creation’[5], annihilating countless children, men and women – among them doctors, teachers, engineers, poets –, as well as precious ecologies, libraries, mosques, memories; even perhaps the ability to ‘dream the days and nights made of dreams of other nights better days.’[6] The leaders of institutional Christianity have barely murmured a word. The few words that they have offered, both to their domestic flock and to the crucified people of Gaza, bear little trace of the radical compassion of the Word.

    Another phrase from the Irish writer Samuel Beckett remains is with me every day: ‘…figment the passing light’[7]. The passing light between relentless bombardments is becoming more figment perhaps than ever. If the light is not to be a mere shadow among us, and if we collectively are to retain liberty against ‘evil thoughts and running mind and vain imaginations’[8], if we sincerely ‘strive to keep them down’[9], we must be judged and changed by the overwhelming, and unprecedented brutality that our social institutions, legacies, and worldviews reign upon the crucified people of Gaza. The inward force of the Lamb has been, throughout Quaker history, a turbulent and ‘invasive force’[10]. The light of the gently warring Lamb shows plainly that we must stand still before, and be judged, by the crucified people of Gaza. ‘Gaza’s martyrdom’[11] is at the eye of a storm of our own societies’ creation, a  descendant perhaps of seventeenth century England’s covenant with capitalism, and by the heartless ‘cupidity and corruption, careerism and cynicism, cravenness and cowardice of mortal man’[12].

    Our liturgy of silence[13] must leave us drenched in the blood of the Lamb, from head to foot, so that love and liberation[14] may be the antidote to break the fatality that still hangs over the world.



[1] Nickalls, The Journal of George Fox, Cambridge University Press, 1952: 109.

[2] C. Wess Daniels, Silence Can Save Us,

[3] Lewis Benson, The Quaker Vision, New Foundation Publications, 1982: 10.

[4] The Journal of George Fox, 2.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Samuel Beckett, Lessness, Calder & Boyars, 1970: 17.

[7] Ibid, 16.

[8] The Journal of George Fox, 58.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Rosemary Moore, The Light in their Consciences: The Early Quakers in Britain, Penn State University Press, 2000: 81.

[11] Norman Finkelstein, Gaza: An inquest into its martyrdom, University of California Press, 2021: 365.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ben Pink Dandelion, The liturgies of Quakerism, Routledge, 2017.

[14] C. Wess Daniels, Silence Can Save Us: ‘Unlike other forms of silence where the work is to clear the mind, this “Quaker” silence is one expecting to fill us with direction, to hear something from a Someone who is the source of life, love, liberation, community, and justice.’

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