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The Gospel of Mother

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Message for worship at West Richmond Friends Meeting, 25th of Fourth Month, 2021


Speaker: Hoot Williams


Scripture: Mark 16:12-13


After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.


Public Domain: Spiritual History of the Shakers, 2015.


I wonder in what other form Jesus appeared to the two disciples as they walked into the country?


We are not told. In Luke’s gospel, the same language is found describing Jesus' face and his dazzling white garments. But as is true with much of Mark’s gospel, we are left with little detail.


Whatever form Jesus took on for the two disciples, the other nine disciples didn’t believe these two witnesses.


Imagine their shock and awe when the risen Christ appeared to them all as they lay around the dinner table, chastising them for their unbelief, their hardness of heart.


Luke’s gospel speaks of the disciples' disbelief ‘in their joy and marveling,’ and a hungry Jesus.


He says, ‘Have you anything to eat up in here?’


Imagine!


How do you imagine the risen savior?


How have you experienced the living Christ?


I wouldn’t blame you if you were afraid to tell us. After all, the other nine didn’t believe those first two witnesses. Christ Himself had to show up later to remind his disciples about hospitality:


‘Have you anything to eat up in here?’


... and to carry the Message to all the world.



When Welling Hall was brave enough to tell us about her numinous dream, my tears reminded me that I, too, have a job to do, a message to deliver. I understood my tears as a sign.


And then when Pastor Brian spoke on witnessing, I was reminded that doing so is not only our history, but also a basic Christian responsibility. I felt another holy nudge.


And again when Katie Breslin reminded us that it was okay to bring our true selves to community, that to risk being vulnerable - and even broken - was right walking in integrity, it was confirmed in me through these accompanying signs that it was my turn - to shine. Not for myself, but through the wonderful news of what Christ is doing, and creating anew.


So today I breathe in faith - and breathe out fear.


Breathe in faith - breathe out fear.


The last time I was invited to bring the message, I told you about my Quaker baptism - during waiting worship with Brooklyn Monthly Meeting. The Holy Spirit brought me Living Water, a new life in Christ, and a Gift of tears.


Today I’m called to tell you about a second numinous appearance.


The United Society of Believers, commonly called Shakers, was founded in 1747 in Manchester, England. They were called, in derision, "Shaking Quakers" because of their ecstatic worship. To this group of separatists came a remarkable young woman named Ann Lee (1736-1784). In 1770, she was imprisoned for her religious views.


During this time she experienced a series of visions. From that date on Ann Lee was acknowledged as their leader and known as Mother Ann.