“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
I’m delighted by how Spirit moves through our spiritual communities. A few summers ago, a member of our congregation drafted architectural plans for a Little Free Library (LFL). The brilliance of the design is that there are doors on two sides of the Library: one side is for adults and one side is just for kids' books. With the help of many volunteers (including the congregation's youth), two Little Free Libraries were built and installed: one near a main entrance and one near a walking trail at the edge of the property. They’ve been chugging along by themselves; people keep them stocked and utilized. These libraries are a beautiful self-sustaining phenomenon: a gift to the community.
And then, Spirit moved (again!) and a generous congregant asked to be a steward of the Little Free Libraries. He realized that with a little love and regular attention, the LFLs could be even better—and was moved towards deeper ownership.
I love this. This is the beauty and sparkle of spiritual communities. We dance together in the gentle unfolding of how we strive to be together. Needs arise and beloveds appear to ask, “How can I help?” There’s no fixed timeline, just the spiritual practices of generosity and stewardship.
As a religious leader, I am also a steward of Hope. So often, we can slip easily into conversations and endless news cycles that focus on dire calamity and we feel overwhelmed, crushed, and dispirited. Yes, there is much wrong with our world, and so much has already been lost.
The “Yes, and…” endures, though: we do have time to make changes, today. We do have time to practice courageous love, today. We do have time to revolutionize how we live out our faith, today. This is how I serve as a steward of Hope: by remembering and reminding others with a wink and smile that today can be for the good one breath at a time, one act of love and forgiveness at a time, one act of defiance and change at a time. The prayer of my heart is that Hope gives rise to insight, which gives rise to action—for the good of us all.
Spirit of Life and Love, may we perceive the needs that arise around us like a clarion call of love. May we recall with audacious hope the words of Martin Luther: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”