We have been doing a lot of thinking about the relationship between contemplation and action recently! Two weeks ago, Rabbi David Jaffe joined us to speak about the inner disciplines necessary to cultivate in order to practice peacemaking in the world (his book is here ) .Last Sunday, John Bach, Quaker Chaplain at Harvard, joined us at Grace Discussion Group to talk about pacifism. At one point, he drew a diagram on the drawing pad: what he called the Beneficial Cycle. This image came out of the Cambridge Friends Meeting, where John is a member, as a way to think about their ministry. The Beneficial Cycle says that focusing on any one of the three areas is going to cause the other areas to grow. The three areas are: Deepen Worship; Increase Witness; and Strengthen Community. These three areas, though distinct, are not in competition; all three enrich each other.
I was intrigued by the idea of the Beneficial Cycle, because it is very similar to some threads of discussion we have had in Vestry, especially on our recent retreat. We had been talking about the desire to deepen our spirituality and spiritual practice, while at the same time reaching out more intentionally into our local community. We’ve also been having conversation around welcoming and integrating newcomers into Grace. The example of the Beneficial Cycle puts these three desires together, and says that they are interconnected desires, in terms of our growth as a community. I offer this to you to ponder, as we discern the next steps in our common life in Christ.