One of my favorite Quaker practices is during Meeting for Worship when we allow time for people to share particular situations or people that they want the Meeting to "hold in the Light." At Brooklyn Meeting, this happens at the end of Meeting for Worship, when the person sitting "head of Meeting" welcomes anyone to share a difficult situation or person in need. Then anyone can speak their concern into the silence.
Sometimes it can seem like a festival of pain:
"Please hold my student in the light. She just lost her mom in a car accident."
"Please hold the people of Mumbai in the Light as they rebuild after this terrible terrorist attack."
But there is something empowering and positive about sharing your personal and familial struggles with your larger Quaker community. It's allowing others into an intimate and sensitive space and asking them to support you spiritually.
At Brooklyn Meeting, we now have an emailed "Light List" or requests for prayer that get emailed out periodically to people in the Meeting who want to receive it. This a nice extension of our Sunday morning practice, and a good reminder of who in Meeting could use a little extra support.
There are of course more tangible ways that we support each other — visiting the sick, offering counsel to those that need it, donating to various causes. But it begins with the act of holding someone in the Light, letting God get involved and following Her leading. I find that very beautiful.