Tonight in our Sunday night worship group we used one of the queries from Northwest Yearly Meeting's "Faith & Practice" to center and listen to God about. Bruce, who led the group tonight, asked about our experiences with the queries, and as we thought about that most of us realized we don't often use the queries for our own meditation or during group worship experiences. Some of us had read our own Yearly Meeting's queries, some of us had experienced using official queries at various Friends gatherings, and some of us have made up our own queries for leading worship experiences, but mostly we haven't used the "official" queries very often.
That's interesting, because the queries are basically our way of expressing our theology: we don't have a creed, but we use the queries to help us think about not just what we believe but whether we are living out our beliefs.
I noticed tonight that the queries were probably the Quaker version of catechism: whereas in Catholic and other churches' catechisms people memorize rote responses to specific doctrinal questions, Quakers ask open-ended questions whose responses should come out of intensely personal experiences of the Divine. I appreciate this approach immensely! It leaves room for so much more dialogue and spiritual growth. It reminded me why I have an aversion to creeds or credal "statements of faith."
It was good to use a query to center us and to share about tonight. We're going to keep doing that at least for a few more weeks with our Sunday night worship group. Anyone in the area is welcome to join us!