Thursday, April 16, 2015


For most Quakers A&Q stands for Advices & Queries. There are various versions around the world, often starting off quoting the advice from the elders of Balby:

Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. 
(Postscript to an epistle to ‘the brethren in the north’ issued by a meeting of elders at Balby, 1656)

But today for me A&Q took on a whole new meaning as I labelled up another tub of stewed Apple and Quince for the freezer on a label too small for whole words! Combining our own abundance of quinces with someone else's over-supply of apples has provided (along with the feijoas from over the fence, still no new neighbours...) an alternative for the year to come to the ridiculous amounts of stewed peaches from our own garden. Whilst it was lamented at the time that the plum tree didn't fruit much this year it is probably just as well as we've now reached the stage where we have to start eating the other things in the freezer on a regular basis in order to make room for more fruit. The rest of the household is gutted about having to eat up the ice cream as you can probably imagine, we also need the emptied ice cream tubs to put more fruit in so the pressure really is on!

The task and writing A&Q did bring some of our Advices & Queries to mind though:

C14: Even the mundane and the everyday can be performed as a form of worship

D14: Aim to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength. Value beauty in all its forms. Share what you have.

D17: Certain times of life bring energy and activity; other times bring a need for rest and renewal. Do you respond to the rhythms of your life, accepting or declining commitments without an undue sense of pride or guilt?

D17 resonates particularly. There have been many tasks lately that have been a response of the rhythms of the seasons, yet I have to remind myself when feeling guilty about not taking on more that the rhythm of my own life means I still don't have as much energy as I'd like to. I need to remember the fact that I've managed to do as much as I have is a huge improvement on this time last year, but unless I factor in enough 'rest and renewal' there isn't going to be enough energy for more activity!

ps Could anyone use some quinces? We've given away as many as we can find homes for and still have plenty to spare!

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