In third grade, I chose Stories from the Bible from my library, but it got the same cursory attention that I gave The Blue Book of Fairy Tales. To my knowledge, neither side of our family engaged in spiritual reading, prayer, or other faith-related activities.
Scientists recently proposed that there may be a link between the human sense of God and certain genes. If this is so, my guess is that no one in my family carries a faith gene. Or perhaps we do, but it plays out in alternative ways. What is it that I am worshipping?
On First Day this week, the sunlight pours in, lighting the white hair of a Presbyterian minister and his wife who often join us Quakers. Behind me I hear soft sips of oxygen delivered from a tank on the back of Sara’s wheelchair. Elise sits alone; the empty seat next to her was inhabited by a man who had been married to Elise’s sister. We held his memorial service in February.
We are simply a worship group, not an incorporated meeting, because we are residents at a continuing care facility. Before I moved here, I worshipped at meetings in four states. Despite decades of worship, reading, and discussion, I have never experienced the presence of what traditionally faithful people call God. Apparently, for me there is another word that holds more meaning. It refers to a process and a feeling, not a tangible figure—at least for now.
At rise of meeting, week after week, I note joyously that I feel deeply attached: to those with whom I worship and to all people and all living things. I am attached to the world and everything. Science says the same particles have always made up everything in our universe. Faith says we are all connected. To me, Spirit, Light, and God mean the fundamental connection from which our love and our testimonies as Quakers flow. To be filled with this deep sense of connection is, for me, at the center of faith.