Vital Quaker Tools (Kitchen Remix Version)

Today in leading the Firstday School for our middle school/early high school group, I brought a few props to help me make some points.

Among other things, I brought our sifter and our funnel.

When the lesson was over, it was time for the group to go to meeting for worship for the last 15 minutes. I gathered some of my things up, but left others, including the kitchen gear.

In meeting, I had a nudge to talk about the funnel and the sifter. I wanted to stand up and hold them up, for these simple, everyday tools to be visible, not just imagined. However, I had left them upstairs. So it seemed that this was not a message for that time and place.

We had meeting for business after lunch. It started with the Third Query for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, on spiritual nurture, ministry, and religious education. Among the many queries of the Third Query: "How do we teach about Quaker practices in business and worship and their importance to the functioning of our Meeting community?"

By then I had my funnel and sifter with me again, and I felt clear to speak the message, more or less like this:
These tools are important for Quakers. As with a funnel, in meeting for worship we can take all of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and focus them toward the center, and drop them into the container of meeting.
As with a sifter, in meeting for business we sift through the flour and strain out any chaff or pebbles, and let the good stuff drop through to be used. [spin handle of sifter for emphasis]
The tools -- centering, discernment, or even meeting for worship or meeting for business themselves -- are not the point of Friends worship. However, in my experience, they are very helpful tools indeed along the way to learning to love God and to love my neighbor. It's important for adults as well as teens to be taught, or reminded, of this.