Marlborough practices silent, waiting worship. No minister, pastor or preacher organizes our service. We gather in silence. In the silence, we pray, meditate or privately contemplate spiritual matters. The ideal exercise is to “empty one’s self” and wait for a message from God.
Silence is fertile ground for real seeking and we have been promised that those who seek, shall find. Rewards for waiting in the silence are in the form of peace, understanding or even words directly from God.
The experience of worship does not end there. Those who hear words from God must be ready to share them. This means breaking the silence, standing and saying aloud what God has given. We call these messages “Vocal Ministry”. They are sometimes compared to sermons heard in other denominations, but they are not pre-prepared. They are immediate revelation.
There is no guarantee that every Meeting for Worship will result in a profound religious experience, nor that every worshiper will comes away inspired from every meeting. On the other hand, spiritual experiences are far from uncommon. When they occur, they are authentic. It is why Quakers say that they “know the Truth experimentally” (or experientially). Robert Barclay (a first-generation Quaker theologian) summarized his experience this way:
“... when I came into the silent assemblies of God's people, I felt a secret power among them, which touched my heart, and as I gave way unto it, I found the evil weakening in me, and the good raised up...”