This is an excerpt of a blog written by ESR Alum Micah Bales. For his complete blog post, visit http://lambswar.blogspot.com/2012/06/quakerspring-new-creation.html/.
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
- Isaiah 60:1-2
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
- Romans 8:22-23
God continues to surprise me. All the Holy Spirit has to do is blow through, and I am back to square one; the sand castles that I have built are swept away by the tide, and I am left without fortifications before God. I suppose it could be frustrating to realize that most of the things I had been worrying about for months do not really matter. But all I feel is joy. I see with stunning clarity that God is not like me at all. Though I am characterized by grasping and self-centeredness, God's character is one of self-giving, healing and mercy. God's presence is power to receive forgiveness, and to be remade in the image of Christ.
This presence and power was very much in evidence this past week at the sixth annual gathering of QuakerSpring in Barnesville, Ohio. QuakerSpring is a unique, Spirit-led retreat that was conceived as an alternative to the frantic programming of some other Quaker gatherings. Rather than planning the schedule ahead of time, each day's agenda is set out according to the group's sense of the Spirit's leading. Rooted in deep worship and shared discernment, QuakerSpring unfolds according to the community's sense of God's call.
Micah's complete post can be viewed here: http://lambswar.blogspot.com/2012/06/quakerspring-new-creation.html.