Ruthie Tippin of Western Yearly Meeting opened our evening worship with music and a reading from Thomas Kelly’s The Eternal Promise. She welcomed David Alexander, the Vice President of Advancement at Friends University, to the podium. He brought the blessings and well wishes of the school administration and trustees. David was followed by an offering taken up to benefit the
Africa Ministries Office, which collected $915. For the offertory, Marial Mortimer – a music student at Friends Universty – offered ministry in song. Marial’s rendition of It Is Well With My Soul stirred the hearts of Friends, and they sang along with the chorus, filling the theater with sound. The time of music was followed by a period of silent meditation, ended with the traditional Quaker handshake.
Eden Grace then rose to introduce Dr. Miriam Ware, saying, “She is the reason I am here. She is the reason that I worked in Kenya for nine years. She is the reason I am in Richmond now. She is the reason that I’m a minister among Friends. She is the reason that I am a Christian.” Eden then told her testimony of meeting Christ in a personal way while in Kenya, after listening to a message given by Miriam.
Miriam is a retired medical doctor and internationally recognized leader in public health. She opened her time of ministry by calling all those who could sing Blest Be The Tie That Binds in Luhya to come up onto the platform, where they shared in song together.
Miriam then gave her reflections on The Eternal Promise, which Friends have been exploring throughout the Triennial. She encouraged Friends to take seriously Kelly’s proposition that one cannot be half a Christian- we must pick a side. Either we follow Christ, or we do not.
She pointed out that being fully committed to Christ simplifies and streamlines life. There are so many options that are solely off the table, to those who are walking with the Lord. We live in a distraught and confusing world, but our commitment to Christ brings peace.
The Christian faith offers the possibility to stand in the face of all difficulties, but we cannot experience the amazing joy of Christianity unless we are fully committed to it. It is the life of Christ which gives us the courage to walk into the darkness, guided by His light.
Colin Saxton closed by echoing Miriam’s message, saying “We live in a distraught world, but we offer a fellowship of light and peace as a witness to the work of Christ still working in the world.” He read the passage from John 15 about the vine and the branches. He left Friends with this encouragement: Remain in God’s love. Remain in it. Abide in it. Dwell in it.