To Be Frith and Friends
I was thinking about the many concepts we seem to be loosing as our culture slips, as has been the pattern of all human cultures, from the complex to the simple. As we loose words we loose depth in linguistic concept. One root of our word Friend, dear fellow Quakers, is Frith.
By the alter in churches in the middle ages, was often found the Frithstool. A place of sanctuary for those in peril. What a dear idea, that we should be a sanctuary to each other.
The word Freedom, often found in the early expressions of our faith, also derives from Frith. Friends were advised to hold fast to our liberty. In order to be present to God, we needed to be free of the restraints of tyranny. We needed to put idols behind us, to not be distracted from God in each other -- for the sake of liberty, freedom.
A Frith was also a wooded enclosure, the opposite of a Fell... a refugee, as well as a narrow arm of the sea, as in the Frith of Forth. There is a sense of embracing in this use of the word.
Well, it is so late it has become early. So, I will leave thee with this small addition to the sense of the word Friend.