We gathered seeking rest and refreshment in the Lord. It was a struggle to slow down, to let go and rest, but we were able to encourage one another, helped by the freedom from formal program and open to the leading of the Spirit in our schedule and activities. As we laid down our roles, responsibilities, and burdens, we were refreshed by God’s living water, sometimes in new and unexpected ways.

In our first session, we were invited by the words of Isaac Penington to give over our own willing, give over our own running, give over our own desiring to know or be anything… and sink down to the seed that God sows in our hearts. We sought to listen deeply, and to respond faithfully in allowing our time, words, and worship to be shaped by the Holy Spirit.

With the ground of our hearts thus prepared, we experienced the intimate presence of the Inward Teacher leading us, challenging us, opening us to share deeply with one another, and guiding us into new ways of living in Love, especially in and with our beloved meetings.

We were opened this week to a deeper understanding of Christ’s teaching that those who are “poor in spirit”—who know their need of God—are truly blessed. We learned in new ways how acknowledging our loneliness, brokenness, and need of God’s ever-present Love opens the door into wholeness, community, and authentic faithful living. Choosing to be vulnerable about our experiences, our wounds, and our need to mourn is a choice that leads to Life.

We feel a deep yearning to support one another in faithfulness, knowing that many stumbling blocks remain in our paths. We long to experience more fully the Love of God among us, both personally and as meeting communities, yet so often we hold back. We are called to remind one another of the vital dance of giving and receiving—that by allowing ourselves to be held or served, we offer the gift of service and care to others. We face the truth that fear—of being seen and known, of being labeled or judged, of being thought of as weak or needy, of being abandoned—is a potent barrier to meeting each of these needs, but one that can be overcome as we humbly seek to be open to God’s grace. This begins with allowing ourselves to feel how deeply we are loved by God. As this happens, we are given the strength to stand and live in Love that casts out fear. This empowers us to speak fearlessly the truth that we receive.

All of these things are a journey we lived and walked together this week.

As our time drew to a close, we felt the wind of the Spirit moving through us, inviting and challenging us to be faithful to the recognition, care, and stewardship of the gifts among us, for the nourishment of our wider communities and our world. Seeds have been planted in this precious time. May they bear the fruit of Love.

This minute was approved at the final session of a Quaker Spring gathering held at The Meeting School in Rindge, NH, June 17-22, 2011.