Meetings for worship are held on the principle of direct communion with God. Friends gather in silence, on the basis of holy obedience to the movement of the Spirit, each seeking divine leading and to know at first hand the presence of the Living Christ.
Out of direct communion with God can come a sense of guidance and a message from the Inward Christ. Sometimes this message seems purely personal; at other times, it seems meant for the meeting. Each worshipper should, under leadings of the Light, share in the responsibilities of the ministry, whether through silence or through the spoken word. Each should receive the ministry of others in a tender spirit. This responsibility of every member may lead to ministry that will answer unknown or unvoiced needs of other seekers.
Messages take various forms–a prayer, a poem, a Bible passage, a spoken message about a concern or spiritual experience. The message may come as a brief thought or as a well-balanced sermon. It is not uncommon for a meeting for worship to be completely silent. Be aware that the Spirit of God is nonetheless moving in that silence. If one is attentive, a special feeling of communion and uplift often occurs.
True worship, whether vocal or silent, is offering one’s self to God–body , mind and soul–for the doing of God’s will. The fruit of worship is an increasing awareness of the Inward light, an experience of God’s love and a fresh understanding of the two great commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
The Quaker meeting for worship is a meeting for sharing among Friends and in the presence of God. When the meeting closes, we shake hands with one another in friendship and love.