Technically, a vigil is a period of staying awake during a normal period of sleep, a time to watch and pray. The word “vigil” doesn’t appear in Steps to Knowledge, but a version of the practice has been adopted by the New Message from God community.
Instead of staying awake during a normal period of sleep, there are certain seasons in the year when the New Message community gathers, both in person and online. The gathering is to celebrate certain events. One event which we celebrate is the reception of Steps to Knowledge, which took place from May 26 to June 14 in 1989. I recall seeing a picture of the highly ordinary house in Albany, New York in which Steps to Knowledge was received, during one of a number of “Steps Vigil” webcasts. It was a season of testimony to the impact of studying Steps to Knowledge. There were many testimony videos at the time, but not very many of them are still available.
The New Message community engaged in another vigil in early 2013. It was a vigil called the “Messenger’s vigil,” a seven-day celebration of the birthday of Marshall Summers. No, this was not Marshall’s idea, but that of his wife Patricia. During this time, Marshall shared some parts of his relatively ancient history of wandering in the wilderness of the American southwest.
There was an online chat going on during this webcast, and someone typed “Relics!” As if to say that the boots that Marshall wore as he roamed the wilderness would one day be considered sacred objects that multitudes of people would use as an excuse to release their faith. At this point, I prefer to think that they’ll just be boots, and that people who walk on this path will not assign credit for the release of their faith to any object.
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