I write this a few moments after President-elect Barak Obama’s magnificent acceptance speech in which he reminded me that change is possible and that hope is the beginning of change. Change is the body in action and all action is impossible without food. Hope is the food. Without the food of hope, the body weakens and actions are made impossible.
For as long as there have been humans, it has been tempting to fall into hopelessness and the languor of the body. For far too long our leaders have deliberately, systematically starved us of the food of hope, in order to make us weak so that they may be left free to enact their avaricious visions. Obama’s remarkable victory teaches me many things, but the one I thinking of right now is my embarrassment at how often I have turned away from hope and accepted, in my own way, the processed food of cynicism and the colorless side dishes of complaint and sarcasm.
Hope is often seen as a gift of the Holy Spirit, an emergence of Spirit, wending its way up through the thick, recalcitrant spiritual sinews of the human individual and the human community. And when hope comes, it opens love in us. Spirit has a far larger vision than the human does, forward and backward in time, and in all seven directions. When it wends its way up into our awareness, we are opened and we love more of the world, in more ways. Our contraction - our compaction into ourselves - is released, and we realize, as Rilke said, that wherever we are folded in on ourselves, there we are a lie.
The years of small-minded chatter of the biblical literalist zealots compressed the primal American sense of hope that has now been reawakened. Those jowled pulpit pounders are revealed for what they are: frightened, narcissistic, snapping creatures with a theology not only irrelevant but dangerous to our collective future.
Tonight I delight in the play of the wind through the night-lit branches outside my window. I hear the cleansing song of the Old Bone Mother carrying away the world-killing poisons of these past eight years, emptying me and opening me to hope, which opens me to love.
And I hear the Mother making a demand on me: now that she has opened me to Hope and to Love, how do I repay her with my changes, with my actions? As Obama has said, our work is only beginning.
This is the topic I intend to lead us into when we gather together this Friday to drum. I hope to see you there.