The Way of Peace

“Live in peace, in Christ the way of peace;” therein seek the peace of all men and no man’s hurt. In Adam in the fall is no peace; but in Adam out of the fall is the peace: So ye being in Adam, which never fell, it is love that overcomes, not hatred with hatred, nor strife with strife. Therefore live all in the peaceable life, doing good to all men, and seeking the good and welfare of all men. – The Works of George Fox, volume 1, page 389.

Seven attended our meeting for the study of Fox’s journal on Fourth month, the 10th, in which we read and discussed pages 385-389 of volume 1. This passage recounts a time of “great confusion and distraction,” when “the powers were plucking each other to pieces” (385). Fox speaks of his “great travail of spirit” as he witnesses the descent into chaos and violence by those in whom “[t]here had been tenderness,” and he recognizes that “all must be brought down to that which convinced them, before they could get over that bad spirit within and without” (386).

A theme that ran throughout our discussion was the necessity for unity with the spirit of Christ, the second “Adam that never fell” (368). In this spirit, one is empowered to maintain peace and withstand the temptation to be “drawn into that snare” (387) that leads to the “rage and madness” (385) of the world. In this passage, Fox foresees God overturning the disorder burdening the nation, disorder brought on by “hypocrisy, treachery, and falsehood.” Through presenting an exchange he had with “a company of unclean spirits” (387), Fox illustrates the efficacy of travailing with the witness of God through which one may come “to have ease; and the light, power, and spirit, shining over all” (387).

Near the end of our time together (beginning at 56:35 in the recording), we discuss the meaning of “metanoia”: a change of mind or a getting beyond one’s own mind to receive the mind of Christ. The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is brought up as describing a change in Jesus’s form that initially prevents others’ recognition of him. Then the story is interpreted as being an act of discovery in which the disciples discover the new and living way (Christ) is no longer confined to embodiment in Jesus (Jesus’s form) but may now be embodied in others. The disciples in the Emmaus story first recognize Christ upon his breaking bread. Providing bread is a type or figure for providing spiritual sustenance: in effect, saying, the spirit of Christ is recognized through his providing our spiritual sustenance, a provision that may occur either within oneself or through others who have his spirit, though not his form.

The recording has been edited to shorten the silence between speakers. 

NFF discussion 4/10/21
Still Life, 1955 Giorgio Morandi   

 

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