Quaker simplicity -- profound and deep -- permeates this unique CD. Just as spiritual insights emerge from the stillness of a Quaker silent meeting, these sung quotations come out of the silence, opening the heart and tuning the soul to the spiritual wisdom in these centuries old, yet still very relevant, messages.
You may be surprised at the profound and different understanding of Jesus' message contained in these quotations, as compared with other 17th century Christians, and perhaps as well as most Christians still today. Early Quaker leaders, both male and female, were on fire with a deep sense of connection with the Divine and a conviction that each person had access to the LIght of God within themselves. While all were steeped in the Bible and drew deep sustenance from it, they preached that the "Truth of the Heart" was the most important source for guidance. They were met with brutal reaction from the clerics of the day. as they preached against hypocrisy and shallow teachings that weren't grounded in a deep personal experience of the "Eternal Christ Spirit" within. Early Quakers leaders were prolific writers.
On the disc, you will find a collection of 21 brief, chant-like songs, sung in repetition once or twice, with short silences in between. Also included is a pdf file with background information about the authors and the themes in the texts, as well as the artist's story of being led to do this project. A special feature on the pdf file is the inclusion of sheet music for all 21 songs.
See below for the words for all the song-chants on the CD.
Here are what others are saying about the CD:
"Paulette Meier’s rich voice, unforced singing, meditative pacing, and natural cadences bring the hearer to that inner peace where truth abides. This approach helps liberate early Quaker spiritual power for a new time." --- Doug Gwyn, Quaker scholar, writer, minister and musician
"What a treasure these are! . . . The passages [Paulette] has chosen represent timeless wisdom that all, regardless of denomination, will find inspiring. I now frequently find them coming to mind on my morning prayer walks, which are richer for them." ---- Bill Dietrich, former Executive Director, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation
"The chants are like prayer beads for me, grounding my spiritual intention to follow my inner guide." -- Rose Marie Cipryk
"[These songs] open a doorway to a spirituality that can, in the words of Quaker founder George Fox, "shake all the country for ten miles round." Her voice moves us into Gods heart, leaving us both challenged and comforted, and resting in a place of deep peace." --- Peter Blood-Patterson, co-author, Rise Up Singing
"While people often admire Quakerism from the outside, as a testimony to non-violence, your songs both make clear and deliver the means for Quakers and non-Quakers alike to reclaim the powerful kenotic spirituality on which their tradition is founded. I hope these songs are learned and sung by Christian contemplatives everywhere!"
--- The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, Ph.D,author of Chanting the Psalms and Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.
From the Artist:
This is a new and very different venture for me. One could say it began when I realized that many Quakers had been front and center in the development of peace education curricula and ideas, which I benefited from as a trainer in schools. Many of the concepts in my songs compiled on the CD, Come Join the Circle: LessonSongs for Peacemaking, have their roots in Quaker faith and practice. Several years later, I began exploring the Quaker faith and began attending a Quaker meeting regularly. The more I learned, the more I appreciated the bedrock of spiritual belief and practice that Quaker peacemakers over the years had been grounded in. It has been this practice of inward seeking, leading to outward action, that has nourished Friends for over 350 years.
As a recipient of the Minnie Jane Artist in Residence Scholarship in 2004, I had the privilege of studying at Pendle Hill, a Quaker Center for Study and Contemplation, where I became more familiar with the writings of the 17th century founders of the Religious Society of Friends. In the following year, I found myself wanting to memorize brief passages from these early Friends, both men and women. Putting the texts to melody made it easy to put them to memory.
I am excited to share my discovery of this modern day, centuries old Quaker spiritual path with you in song, and hope that it nurtures your soul as it has mine!
Here are the actual quotations as sung on the CD, as well as citations for their source:
Quotations for the CD: Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong
Selected, set to music, and recorded by Paulette Meier. 2010
1. “Be still and cool in Thy own mind and spirit, from thy own thoughts,
and then thou wilt feel the principle of God
to turn thy mind to the Lord God,
whereby thou wilt receive God’s strength and power from whence life comes, whereby thou wilt receive
God’s strength to allay
all blusterings, storms, and tempests.”
George Fox, 1658, A letter to Lady Claypole (daughter of Oliver Cromwell). Journal, ed. Nickalls, p. 346f.
2. “Ye have no time but this present time, therefore prize your time, for your soul’s sake.”
George Fox. 1652 , Epistle #5, “A Letter to Parents”, from T. Canby Jones, The Power of the Lord is Over All, p. 5.
3. “Keep within. And when they say, ‘Lo[ok] here or lo[ok] there is Christ,
go not forth, for Christ is within you.
And those who try to draw your minds away from the teaching inside you,
are opposed to Christ.
For the measure’s within, and the light of God is within, and the pearl is within, though hidden.”
George Fox, 1652, Epistle, #19 , Works 7:27.
4. “Art thou in the Darkness?
Mind it not, for if thou dost it will feed thee more. But stand still, and act not, and wait in patience, Till Light arises out of Darkness and leads thee.”
James Naylor, p. lv in “To the Life of God in All,” in A Collection of Sundry Books, Epistles and Papers written by James Nayler, London, 1716.
5. “Stand still in that which is pure, after ye see yourselves, and then mercy comes in.
After thou seest thy thoughts and temptations, Do not think, but submit, and then power comes in. Stand still in that which shows and discovers, and there doth strength immediately come.
And stand still in the light, and submit to it, and the other will be hushed and gone,
and then content[ment] comes.”
George Fox, 1652, Epistle #10. Works 7:20. (See Matthew 4: 1-3.)
"Lord, give me and mind the comfortable enjoyment of thy presence forever, and then try us as thou pleasest: Thy preserving Power is all that I desire of thee, and unto i I commit all, and with thee I leave all; for thou art worthy to dispose of all; and then would Life flow in like a River, to the comforting and strengthening of Soul and Body.”
Joan Vokins, from God’s Mighty Power Magnified, 1691
7. “Give over thine own willing, give over thine own running, give over thine own desiring
to know or be anything,
and sink down to the seed which God sows in thy heart and let that be in thee
and grow in thee
and breathe in thee
and act in thee
and thou shalt find by sweet experience that the Lord knows that
and loves and owns that,
and will lead it to the inheritance of life, which is God’s portion.”
Isaac Pennington, 1681, from “Some Directions to the Panting Soul,” in Works, Volume 2.
8. “Oh, love Truth and its Testimony, whether its Witness be to you or against you. Love it, that into my Mother’s house you all may come, and into the Chamber of her that conceived me, where you may embrace and be embraced of my dearly beloved one. Love is his Name, Love is his Nature and Love is his life.”
Sarah Blackborow, from the tract A Visit to the Spirit in Prison, 1658
9. “I saw that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love,
which flowed over the ocean of darkness.
In that I also saw the infinite love of God,
and I had great openings.”
George Fox, 1647, p. 19, The Journal of George Fox, edited by John L. Nickalls, Cambridge University Press, 1952.
10. “They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.
Death cannot kill what never dies
nor can spirits ever be divided
that love and live in the same Divine Principle, the root and reward of their friendship.”
William Penn, 1693, Fruits of Solitude, Part II, paragraph 127. From Volume two of Hugh Barbour’s William Penn on Religion and Ethics: The Emergence of Liberal Quakerism, 1992 - p. 558.
11. “The truth is one and the same always,
though ages and generations pass away,
and one generation goes and another comes, yet the word and power and spirit of the Living God endures forever, and is the same and never changes.”
Margaret Fell, 1660, from “Preface to Margaret Fell’s Epistles, Written by Herself”
12. “Mind that which is eternal, which gathers your hearts together up to the Lord,
and lets you see that ye are written in one another’s heart.”
George Fox, 1653, Epistle #24 (Works 7:31), from Rex Ambler’s Truth of the Heart, p. 58 (Revised Edition)
13. . “Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness and bearing with each other,
and forgiving one another
and not laying accusations
one against another;
but praying for each other
and helping each other up with a tender hand.....”
Isaac Pennington, 1667, from Isaac Penington’s Letter to Friends in Amersham.
14. “ Let not the sons and daughters, nor the handmaids, be stopped
in their prophesying, nor the young men in their vision, nor the old men in their dreams...
So every one may improve their talents, every one exercise their gifts,
and everyone speak as the spirit gives them utterance...... So that all plants may bud and ‘bring forth fruit’ to the glory of God.”
George Fox, 1657, An epistle to Friends of 1657, in Journal, ed. Ellwood, in Works 1:345f. , from Rex Ambler’s Truth of the Heart, 1st edition, p. 70.
15. “And may not the Spirit of Christ speak in the female as well as in the male?
Who is it that dare limit the Holy One of Israel. For the Light is the same in the male and in the female....... And who is it that dare stop Christ’s mouth?”
George Fox, 1656, “The Women Learning in Silence,” Doctrinals, Works 4:109. From Rex Ambler’s Truth of the Heart, 1st edition, p. 70
16. “All meet together everywhere,
and in your Meetings wait upon the Lord.
And take heed of forming words, but mind the Power, and know that which is Eternal, which will keep you all in unity,
walking in the Spirit, and will let you see the Lord near you and among you.”
George Fox, Epistle 43
17. “We are a people, that follow after those things
that make for peace, love and unity.
It is our desire that other’s feet may walk in the same. We do deny and bear our testimony
against all strife and wars and contention.”
Margaret Fell, 1660, from Margaret Fell’s Letter to the King on Persecution.
18. “Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations,
wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among
all sorts of people and to them;
then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone;
whereby in them ye may be a blessing
and make the witness of God in them to bless you.”
George Fox, 1656, A letter ‘to Friends in the ministry’, in Journal, ed. Nickalls, p. 263. From Rex Ambler’s Truth of the Heart, 1st edition, page 112.
19. “It would go a great way to caution and direct people in their use of the world
if we understood more about the creation of it. For how could we find the confidence to abuse it, while we should see the Great Creator stare us in the face, in all and every part thereof?”
William Penn, 1692, Fruits of Solitude, Part I, paragraph 12-13.
20 “Peace reqires justice. Justice requires law. Law requires government, not only within nations, but also between nations.”
Willliam Penn, 1693, An Essay towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe, by the Establishment of an European Dyet, Parliament or Estates (1693)
21. “May we look upon our treasure
the furniture of our houses, and our garments. And try to discover
whether the seeds of war
have nourishment in these, our possessions.”
John Woolman, from his essay, A Plea for the Poor, 1763