I sometimes preach a sermon entitled “The Four Little Candles.” The author of the original story is unknown. In it I tell the story of four little candles that were burning softly and quietly. Listening closely you can hear them speak. The first little candle is peace. Lamenting that the world no longer wants to try and keep the peace the candle becomes tired and slowly goes out. The second little candle, faith, cries for a world that finds faith superfluous and unnecessary. A gentle breeze comes along and blows out the little flame of faith. Love, the third little candle angrily huffs that people don’t even know how to love the ones that love them, much less someone else. Suddenly, the candle ceases to burn. In my version a worker for the kingdom enters and sees that the candles have ceased to burn. The worker begins to cry and call out to the candles begging them to continue their flames because the One who is peace, faith, and love will soon be returning. The worker implores them to continue until that time. Then the fourth little candle speaks up. Encouraging the worker, the candle assures her that she does not need despair because this flame is the candle of hope. As long as hope burns the worker can use the flame of hope to ignite peace, faith, and love. Rejoicing the worker does just that and takes the candle of hope and re-illumines peace, faith, and love.
Barbara Johnson has been quoted as saying, “We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.” To hear some people tell it the world is becoming even more like a Good Friday world. There is much to fear and worry about. There is much to lament. There is much to make us angry and frustrated. There is less peace, faith, and love than ever before. Here is what I fail to comprehend; we are supposed to be Easter people and Easter people are a people of hope.
A Muslim friend of mine was asking for blog posts for an interfaith blog she has. (I will share this one with her I imagine.) She asked guest bloggers to address how Easter makes us a better person in the interfaith environment. Simply for me we act and live as people of hope that kindle the flames of peace, faith and love. What a unique season of history we are experiencing where people of all faiths have an opportunity to enter into relationship and genuine friendship. I learn things from my friends of other faiths. I hope they learn things from me. More than anything my prayer is that they see me as an Easter person, a person of hope. Surely that is what Easter and the resurrection is all about…hope.