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Are Sundays more sacred?

Published on: Published on: Friday 16 Nov 2018

Contributed by/From: Contributed by / From: National

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Jon Martin explores the faith basis for meeting for worship and challenges the notion that Quakers should always meet for an hour on Sundays.

“Now there were many old people who went into the chapel and looked out at the windows, thinking it a strange thing to see a man preach on a hill, and not in their church, as they called it; whereupon I was moved to open to the people that the steeple-house, and the ground whereon it stood were no more holy than that mountain…" (George Fox, Firbank Fell, 1694)

Quaker ways of worship are not bound by custom or ritual. We are called to find space to listen to the promptings of love and truth which come from that otherly place, wherever we might be. 'God' is found in a forest, field, prison, house or car as much as within the walls of a church. Nothing is set apart or sacred because everything is sacred. It's one of the reasons Quakers meet in houses, not churches. Quakers were only pushed into houses at all, and away from town squares and fields, due to vicious persecution in the 17th century. The belief that all is sacred also extends to days. Quaker worship occurs when two or three people gather together regardless of place or time or length. Early Quakers were keen to draw the connection to the early followers of Jesus as described in Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather together in my name, there am I with them". Worship is a fluid thing! If the holiness of every day and every thing is all so en-grained in the Quaker tradition, with far deeper Christian roots, why is it that the vast majority of Quaker meetings happen in historical buildings on a Sunday morning for exactly an hour?

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