What do Quakers mean when we say that “Christ has come to teach his people himself?” FUM’s Colin Saxton explores this question.
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- What do you think George Fox meant when he said that “Christ has come to teach his people himself”? What does that phrase mean to you?
- Colin Saxton describes the implications of Friends’ conviction that Christ is present in our midst. Do you agree with his conclusions? What do you think it is about Quakers that makes us “a little bit different”?
My name is Colin Saxton, and I’m the general secretary of Friends United Meeting, and I live here in Richmond, Indiana, which is the world headquarters for F.U.M.
I wasn’t born in the Quaker community, and so I came to it late, in my mid-twenties. I experienced fellowship and worship and service in other denominations before that. But I was on this search for something that was just a little bit different. I longed to find this group of people that would help me experience a more vital Christianity than I was experiencing – than I was experiencing anyway – in other places.
One of the things that drew me to Friends, and I think makes us a little bit unique or distinct, is our profound and absolute conviction that Christ is real to us, that he’s present in our midst, and at our best it has profound implications for us in not only our personal lives, but the ways that we live as a community. So it makes us unique or distinct in the way in which we worship, and creating those opportunities for us to step outside of our regularly scheduled program and allow the holy spirit to speak and to lead and to do things that we might not expect.
It shows up in our understanding of a sacramental approach to living, in terms of: what does it mean to be baptized? How do we share a sense of communion? It’s Christ’s real presence in the midst that joins us. He’s the bread and the wine that we share and holds us together, and it’s the Spirit that baptizes us or initiates us into a new and loving way, and that’s more powerful than water. More powerful than bread and wine.
And it just keeps showing up, over and over again, that for us, that presence in the midst makes us a little bit different.
A Prayer for Friends
I guess my hope and prayer for the Religious Society of Friends is that we can experience that reality of Christ coming to teach us and lead us again as – beyond our local meetings, but into our yearly meetings and across our yearly meeting borders and maybe, in my wildest prayers, for a community like F.U.M., is across all the continents and other ways that would divide us, that we’ll experience that reality.
The views expressed in this video are of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Friends Journal or its collaborators.