INSPIRATIONS: Holding One Another in the Light
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The Quaker practice of "Holding One Another in the Light" does not seem to be an old practice but is consistent with Friends' belief in continuing revelation. This practice is in addition to worship and prayer. How this is practiced differs from Friend to Friend. Some may visualize the individual being surrounded by light, love, warmth and softness. Others may consider taking the person into their heart or into their prayers. Still others, may contemplate how their own behavior might change toward the person in need.
One definition is that of a form of communal intercessory prayer, praying for others using silence and imaging.
Pastor Bob Henry: "So, for me personally, when I hold someone or a specific situation in the Light, I imagine God’s grace, love, joy, wisdom and peace engulfing and surrounding their life and situation." mtk
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12, NASB)
"The first step of peace is to stand still in the Light.” George Fox
ART: John Perkin art: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/148689225180246908/
VIDEO: QuakerSpeak. Quakers and the Light "Holding Someone in The Light" discussion starts at 4:34. https://quakerspeak.com/video/quakers-the-light/.
MUSIC: "Sending You Light". by Melanie DeMore performed with Julie Wolf. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIsZuoNFtXg.
George Fox Song "Walk in the Light".
Unknown Title. by Dorothy White from 17th Century
We must be subject unto Light within,
Wherein is known the Cleansing from all Sin;
Subject unto Christ, the Light alone,
Unto the Lamb that sitteth on the Throne;
To the Light within at first we were direct,
The way to Life, Sin to reject:
The True Light we must always obey,
Christ the Life, the New and Living Way,
Though he be the Way, he is a Stumbling Block,
Against the Proud, he is come to knock;
Against the Proud, and down they shall go,
The Lord will reject the Proud, and that they shall shortly know. 17th Century Quaker Poetry. by Dorothy White https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsr...
- New York Monthly Meeting Glossary of Quaker Terms: Hold in the Light - To ask for God's presence to illumine a person, situation, or problem, whether in concern or thanksgiving.
- "I am holding you in the Light. We Quakers say that when we intend to pray for someone, when we want for someone what God wants for them -- peace and healing and well-being and soundness of mind and body and spirit." . . ."It is a promise to work for the betterment and well-being of another. We shouldn't say it unless we are prepared to do it. If we say to them, "I will hold. you in the Light," we need to be prepared to lift them up to the window and give them soup and a coat." https://philipgulley.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Quaker-Sayings-9-SECURE.pdf"Quaker Sayings. I will Hold You in the Light." by Phillip Gulley. (4 1/2 page essay)
- Experiences such as this one have convinced me that although our bodies are separate, we are connected to one another in an invisible, spiritual web through which something very powerful and healing can be transmitted instantaneously -- light, energy, love, forgiveness, soul communication . . .
- Over the years, praying for others and holding them in the Light has become a frequent practice for me. I've explored many ways of doing it. Sometimes I address a mental request to God for the health or well-being of another, usually acknowledging that I don't fully understand the situation and that I'm really asking for the best for that person, whatever that may be. Often, however, my prayer doesn't include mental words or any specific requests. Sometimes I visualize the person filled and surrounded with light or imagine them being held by God or experiencing radiant health, peace, or joy. On other occasions, I visualize the light within them -- divine loive and wisdom -- shining brightly. Often my prayer feels simply like love without images. I focus on the other person in a tender grateful way, from the place of my own deepest connection to Spirit. A moment sometimes comes when, in my mind's eye, the person seems to smile or glow more brightly, and I will feel the prayer is complete. p 44-45. Marcelle Martin "Holding One Another in the Light" Pendle Hill Pamphlet Book 382
- I like to think of “holding in the Light” as being “holding in Love.” The Light to me represents God’s love and some of its qualities, and so when I think of holding someone in the Light I picture them surrounded by visual, bright Light, but also surrounded by something with warmth and a soft texture. In the Psalms there is reference to being borne up on the wings of an eagle, and I like the image of an eagle’s wing as part of God’s love. The wing can be powerful, strong, and uplifting, but on the ground the wing can encircle us in a warm and comforting way. Thus, I envision someone being held in brightness, warmth, and softness.
The following three quotations are posted on the Ann Arbor Friends website.
- "Readings for Reflection: " September 2003 Ann Arbor Friends. Committee on Ministry and Counsel. Anonymous tHolding Someone in the Light: What does that Mean? [Part Two.] https://annarborfriends.org/rfr/reflection0903.shtml/
- My feelings concerning holding others in the light are shaped by my lack of belief in a God that directly intervenes in human lives. As a result of this belief I think of holding others in the light primarily in terms of the impact of it on my own attitudes and behaviors, and then, indirectly, on the attitudes and behaviors of others I interact with. Anonymous. "Readings for Reflection:" September 2003 Ann Arbor Friends. Committee on Ministry and Counsel. [Part One]. https://annarborfriends.org/rfr/reflection0803.shtml.
- When I'm asked to hold someone in the Light, my immediate response is to picture them surrounded by a kind of halo of light as I pray for their well-being. I hope, then, that I will continue to think of them during the coming week and month, again praying that they will be well/healed or whatever is needed. I interpret "holding" to mean "carrying," so my intention is to carry concern and love for them over a period of time. At times this concern might transform into a practical act (taking a meal, making a phone call, sending a card). This is much harder, of course, if someone has asked us to "hold my mother's best friend's secretary in the Light" or if the speaker is someone I don't know by name. It is also hard when there are more requests than I can "process," and in that case I leave the "holding" to someone else. "Anonymous Readings for Reflection:" September 2003. Ann Arbor Friends. Committee on Ministry and Counsel. [Part One]. https://annarborfriends.org/rfr/reflection0803.shtml.
This following passage was quoted in Daily Kos but I can't find her original blog -- Light Cottage
- Kim at Light Cottage. To say to someone " I will hold you in the Light", is the equivalent of lifting them up to God, lifting them to light and goodness, so they can have hope and peace. Kim at "Light Cottage blog." https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2013/6/23/1218253/-Brothers-and-Sisters-Holding-Someone-in-the-Light/
- “Hold in the Light” might look like another example of “Quakerspeak,” as contrasted with “Protestantspeak.” Some Friends, possibly those who grew up in other faith communities, may conflate the two phrases. I perceive a subtle difference, and I hope my explanation doesn’t offend anyone. Our Meeting is certainly not prescriptive, but trends as Hicksite and progressive. Continuing Revelation, not the Bible, is the touchstone. In the past 30 years, I never heard anyone offer a ‘prayer’ as vocal ministry.
“I will pray for you” indicates intercession between humanity and God. It strikes me as a bit of hubris that a person asks God to do something. Who are we to make such a request, and expect it to be answered in the affirmative?
“I will hold thee in the Light” means, I will hold the person having trouble up into the purifying Light which is God/Spirit and let the Light shine howsoever it will. That could be many directions, not mine to specify. Chris Bobbitt. Bloomington, Indiana Friends Meeting. in "Quora". https://www.quora.com/Quakers-what-do-you-mean-by-I-will-hold-you-in-the-Light-and-how-is-it-different-from-I-will-pray-for-you/
- When I began attending meeting for worship back in the 1990’s, I regularly heard a confusing request that we hold people in the Light. It seemed that I was being asked to lovingly visualize people with health or other problems and to silently express a desire that they be healed.
That sounded a lot like a mindfulness practice called “loving-kindness meditation,” so that is what I did when I heard a request to hold someone in the Light. In loving-kindness meditation, you imagine a person and silently repeat certain phrases that express your wish that the person be free from danger, be free from suffering, be happy, and live with ease.
After a while, though, I learned that loving-kindness meditation is not the same as holding someone in the Light. According to PYM’s Faith and Practice, an essential part of the holding someone in the light is “the desire that divine guidance and healing will be present to [an] individual.” So now when I hold someone in the Light, I still practice loving-kindness meditation, but I also wish for the person to experience “divine guidance and healing.” Donald W. McCormick. "Western Friend November/December 2016". https://westernfriend.org/article/mindfulness-and-quaker-worship
- Likewise when someone shines their face upon you, in a simple smile, you are being held in the Light. And what would it be like to be in the Light of God’s face shining upon you? With that thought, I became bathed in a sacred power and majesty. My pain disappeared as I was overwhelmed with love, joy, and peace. In this moment of worship, I experienced a communion like none I had ever known. As I sat in my hospital bed in the darkness, I no longer felt alone. While I know they were not physically present, I began to see faces of members of meeting, other Christian friends and family, and other devout friends from other faith traditions. As this continued, I began to see smiling faces of people that I did not know, complete strangers that seemed to be from across the world. It was as if everyone was smiling and shining their face upon me. Coming away from that experience, I sensed this is what it is like to be held in the Light. Ruthanne Hackman. " Update Friends Journal. December 2021". https://www.friendsjournal.org/to-hold-in-the-light/
- I hold up persons before God in intercession, loving them and seeing them with God, longing for a healing and redeeming power to course through their lives. I hold up certain social situations, certain projects. At such a time I often see things that I may do in company with or that are related to this person or this situation. I hold up the persons in the meeting and their needs, as I know them, to God. "Friends and Worship" by Douglas Steere Maury River Friends Meeting. https://www.quakercloud.org/cloud/maury-river-friends-meeting/resources/friends-and-worship-douglas-steere
- Eighty-three-year-old Friend Dorothy Ackerman told me that holding a person in the Light means focusing on "that of God in each person." For example, if someone is ill, it is as if their inner energy is running very low, like embers in a fire that are nearly out. When we hold this person in the Light, it is like fanning the flame of God within him or her. Brothers and Sisters: Holding Someone in the Light. Quotation by Julie McCarty's from her blog "The Prayerful Heart". https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2013/6/23/1218253/-Brothers-and-Sisters-Holding-Someone-in-the-Light/
- For Quakers, prayer is conversation. Such prayer can be with words, thoughts, images, whispers, or simple meditation.
If a someone is sick or struggling, Friends may hold them in the Light.
It’s a simple practice: “To hold a person in the Light, imagine them being held in God’s loving presence and offer prayers and love for them.”
Some recommend picturing the person in need bathed in the golden light of Spirit. Some imagine them held in a giant, open palm being offered up toward the light. Some encapsulate their loved one in a golden bubble of light.
Some Friends describe the experience:
“When I Hold people in the Light I am most comfortable visualizing them wrapped in an actual warm light. To me it represents God’s love. If I know the person, I “see” them. If not, I find my mind still sees a light and I know that God is, and will be, caring for that person.”
“I like to think of “holding in the Light” as being “holding in Love.” The Light to me represents God’s love and some of its qualities, and so when I think of holding someone in the Light I picture them surrounded by visual, bright Light, but also surrounded by something with warmth and a soft texture.”
“Hold the person up to the light so that we may see illuminated all that there is to the person.” "Holding in the Light". Dr. Audrey. https://medium.com/illumination/join-me-in-holding-each-other-this-great-nation-in-the-light-92f125e80c10#:~:text=world%20for%20all.-,Holding%20in,For%20Quakers%2C%20prayer%20is%20conversation.&text=It's%20a%20simple%20practice%3A%20%E2%80%9CTo,prayers%20and%20love%20for%20them.%E2%80%9D/
- Holding in the Light - The Quaker version of “we’ll pray for you.” However, holding someone in the Light is more than a simple supplication on behalf of that person. Instead, there is a sense of joining with Spirit, or the Light, to enfold the person in love and comfort, or of joining with the Light in the faith that the Light will reveal what is deeply true for that person. Holding someone in the Light does not preclude trying to be of concrete use. One’s actions may be guided by one’s experience. . . . The person sharing joys and sorrows is encouraged to say the name of the person/people they are asking to be held in the Light so that it can focus the sending of the Light. "Quaker Speak Glossary". Bethesda Friends Website. May 2019. https://www.bethesdafriends.org/resources/Documents/Quaker-Speak-2019.pdf