One of the most beautiful and transformative experiences that is constant in my life at Pendle Hill is the accompaniment of a community that dares to be hopeful in the face of any challenge. This is a community that remains faithful to the movement of the Spirit, despite physical distance and many uncertainties in our lives. I have seen love in action as many of us in the Pendle Hill community face the loss of loved ones, encounter health issues, struggle in our personal journey with the Divine, or respond to pressing financial needs. It is clear to me that this ‘holy experiment’ is a plain call to reimagine what is possible with love and the courage to realize it.
I cannot count the many occasions when I found myself nudged by love where I started with a closed-off-ness, not recognizing the fertile ground for mutual accompaniment and transformation. I also confess to you that there have been times in which fear has prevented me from embracing and welcoming the gentle but clear divine invitation to hold space for solidarity, care, compassion, and justice. In these times, I have tried to keep Paul’s words to the Roman community in mind: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.” (Romans 8: 38-39 NIV). Even when we fail to answer the call to divine love, we still have the opportunity to recognize the love that surrounds and connects us all.
I have no doubt that the nudges of love have been part of your life as well. Think for a moment about your relationships, your faith community, your callings; the person that, without many words, is fully present in your life. Think about the many gestures of kindness, support, and care that you receive. We can hold these beautiful experiences in our hearts as a sacrament of what is possible with love. Opening ourselves to be nudged by love and to explore its possibilities is what we strive to do at Pendle Hill as we create space for community, deep transformation, learning, and faithfulness. I am convinced that our small Quaker retreat center is a living laboratory for personal and social change, especially when we witness how difficult it is for certain communities to be open to diversity or how slowly we have advanced in our steps toward peace and justice. I hold the conviction in my heart that love is the way forward and that opening ourselves to the nudges of love is an integral step on the path to recognizing the divine presence in everything.
In the Light,