Certainly the silence of worship favours the perception of an inner light that comes from God. We are talking, obviously, of a light not sensed by the organ of vision, but rather of a spiritual light coming from above which enlightens human conscience and reason.
To the Christian, the divine light of truth and life has been revealed in Christ Jesus, and through Him it is still expressed, whenever and wherever the Word is preached.
For Quakers, from Fox onwards, it is likewise — indeed he said that "every man [is] enlightened by the divine Light of Christ" (1648) — but, since "the Light and Spirit [were] before Scripture was given forth", this light can be perceived by anyone, even before knowing the Scriptures and ultimately without them.
The encounter with this light makes the believer answerable ("as good stewards of God's varied grace" — 1 Peter 4:10) to the divine provider, to the neighbour, and to all of creation; ready to seek His will and to live according to the promptings of the Word, written and unwritten.
There is no doubt that, in order to try out the gift of inner light, one needs to create opportunities, backing away, if only briefly, from the noises and cares of the world, be it in solitude, or be it in the togetherness of the worshipping group, possibly in silence.
If one succeeds, to any extent, in living out that light, then the insight into what is good to do, not to do, to say, not to say, to nurture, to let go; the conscious awareness of being workers for peace and justice, witnesses to truth and ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven; is all truly possible.
Just as we are, with our lowly powers, working on little things (against the scale of human society), if we let the inner light of Christ illuminate us, we realise that in us dwells a divine spark, and it is easier for us to become His fellow workers. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
Verbania, 24 VIII 1991
Please send any suggestions for alternative translations of any of these meditations to Simon Grant.