Hope and love. These are wonderful emotions that people of all faiths can share and grow. We can worship together and feel the transcendent power of our spirits united in common concern. We can work together to help the needy and build beloved community. We can read, sing and pray inspiring words that foster compassion for humanity and our world.
Hope and love are beautiful flowers — fragrant … and fragile. Hope and love require careful nurturing and protection from the elements and from forces that would consume them until they withered and died.
Hope and love require courage. They require the courage to resist the storms of hate and oppression. They require the courage to stand up to the winds of ignorance and bigotry. Hope and love survive only when people have the courage to protect them from violence and the evil influences that poison the soul.
Hope and love are the crops cultivated by farmers of the spirit. And in order to grow a crop of hope and love, we farmers of the spirit must be courageous. We must persevere when problems abound like locusts, or seem as insurmountable as a hail storm. We must labor to fend off invasive plants, the icy frost, or the flames of drought.
But, most of all, the farmers of the spirit must guard hope and love from the attacks of the ignorant, and from the slander of the hateful. We must nurture the fields of hope and love from the violent bullying of those driven by fear and prejudice, of privilege and entitlement, of irrationality and selfishness.
This is not easy work. It can be exhausting, even scary, and always challenging. But the harvest … the harvest is magnificent! The bounty of hope and love will spill over the tables, feeding all who hunger, all who yearn for its sustenance. Farmers of the spirit, join with me! Let us till the fertile soil and protect our seedlings from the pestilence of hate, the storms of fear. Let us stand, hand in hand, until the sweetness of hope and love dispels all bitterness, and let us join in that communion table together.