By Galen Hamman, Director of Friends Education
Prepared for our All School Meeting For Worship December 18, 2015:
This topic of Light is an important one to Friends as we were first named Children of the Light. George Fox, founder of Quakerism, himself said in 1646: “I saw that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.” Friends today continue to seek to live this experience of Light and love in the world and as a Friends school we teach you to seek out the good or Light in all people.
In recent weeks New England Yearly Meeting has made a public statement about renewing and sharing the love and Light at a time of darkness in our world due to the recent violence. While some in our county have been publicly sharing anti-immigrant and anti Muslim sentiment, those people do not speak for our MB community. As a Friends School we provide an education that nurtures the Inner Light of each child. At MB, we are committed to educating, working with, and learning from people of all backgrounds including Muslims and immigrants. In the 4th grade students engage in studying immigration and part of the unit includes learning their own immigration story. In our 10th grade Religious Studies course we have partnered with local Muslims at Brown and Imam Ikram at the Masjid Al-Islam in Smithfield. In the coming weeks division heads and I will work to engage faculty and students in preparing a gathering to explore these issues together and to help us find a way to see what love might do. As we begin our worship today, I would like to invite us to pause and hold in the Light all those who are being negatively impacted by Islamaphobic and xenaphobic rhetoric and actions.
In the Pre-Primary class, the students have been thinking about light and dark, shadows and reflections, man-made light and the light of the sun and the moon. They made suncatchers, and shadow boxes, they put on a shadow put on a shadow puppet play. They also read a book Light the Lights and the one they have chosen to share with you today: The House in the Night. When they read this book, a book of three colors black and white and yellow, they noticed the objects in each picture that were yellow, the pictures that held the light in the page. The Upper School group Letting our Lives Speak group also read the book together and came up with the queries you will hear today for us to consider. Then the Pre-Primary and Upper School students got together to get to know each other and to practice telling this story for you. We hope as you listen to this story and the queries, you will also consider the Quaker belief of Light or Inner Light in each of us.
The Pre Primary students will be reading The House in the Night, by Susan Marie Swanson.
“Here is the key to the house.
In the house burns a light.
In that light rests a bed.
On that bed waits a book.
In that book flies a bird.
In that bird breathes a song…
all about the starry dark.
Through the dark glows the moon.
On the moon’s face shines the sun.
Sun in the moon,
moon in the dark,
dark in the song
song in the bird,
bird in the book
book on the bed
bed in the light
light in the house
Here is the key to the house,
the house in the night
a home full of light.”
During open worship we invite you to reflect on the following queries:
What in your house brings light to your life?
When have you found light in the dark?
How might we find light in this time of darkness for our country and world?