TUESDAY THE FIFTH OF DECEMBER 2017
* Nelson Mandela *
O God, all holy one, you are our mother and our father and we are your children. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we may be able to discern your work in the universe and be able to see your features in every one of your children. May we learn that there are many paths but all lead to you. Help us to know that you have created us for family, for togetherness, for peace, for gentleness, for compassion, for caring, for sharing.
May we know that you want us to care for one another as those who know that they are sisters and brothers, members of the same family, your family, the human family. Help us to beat our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks, so that we may be able to live in peace and harmony, wiping away the tears from the eyes of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. And may we know war no more, as we strive to be what you want us to be: your children. Amen.
( Desmond Tutu )
Oh people, you shall not drown in your tears
but tears shall bathe your wounds.
Oh people, you shall not die from hunger
but hunger shall feed your souls.
Oh people, you are not weak in your suffering
but strong and brave with knowing.
Oh people, if you have known struggle,
only then are you capable of loving.
Oh people, be aware of the love you have.
Let not your tears submerge it,
let not your hunger eat it,
let not your suffering destroy it;
oh people, bitterness does not replace a grain of love;
let us be awake in our love.
( Noorie Cassim )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Nelson Mandela: teaching people to love
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who died on this day in 2013.
It is somewhat intimidating to try to say something meaningful in a short devotion. I suppose at the bottom of it all there was Mandela’s willingness to suffer for his beliefs and his willingness to forgive those who caused his suffering, so that his beliefs could take root and grow.
Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the National Party (NP) governments, the ruling party from 1948 to 1994, under which the rights, associations, and movements of the majority black inhabitants were curtailed by the minority white government. From 1960 to 1983, three and a half million non-white South Africans were removed from their homes, and forced into segregated neighbourhoods, in one of the largest mass removals in modern history. The government segregated education, medical care, beaches and other public services, and provided black people with services that were often inferior to those of white people.
Confronted by this dehumanising system, Mandela fought against it in both non-violent and violent ways. He was a leader in the Defiance Campaign against Unjust Laws sponsored by the African National Congress in 1952. Working as a lawyer he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities. In 1962, he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He served twenty seven years of that sentence. From prison he became a symbol for the anti-apartheid struggle. The world took notice and South Africa became increasingly isolated. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife. Mandela joined negotiations with Nationalist President F. W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994. In those elections he became South Africa’s first black president. Under his leadership a new constitution was promulgated. He established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal the wounds of racism.
He introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. He declined to run for a second term. He retired and became an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Quote: “People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, then they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Matthew," verses forty-six to forty-eight, we read:
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
... for peace in the world.
... for the people of South Africa; that the ideals of Nelson Mandela may always remain embedded in their land.
... for an end to all forms of apartheid wherever they may be found in the world today.
... on this, World Soil Day, for the earth of the earth; that humans may be good stewards of the soil, caring for it and not abusing it.
... for the people of Thailand who celebrate their national day today.
... for the people of southern California who are in the path of fast moving wildfires. DETAILS
... for the national parks and areas of outstanding beauty or interest in the world, in particular for those in the United States of America under threat at this time.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
From "Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela:
It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.
When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to castoff one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.
Eternal God, when we are confronted by systemic evil, racial hatred, and injustice, inspire us to action through the life of your servant Nelson Mandela, who was willing to give his own life for the betterment of his people. Strengthen us by the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
CLICK HERE, then click on "Begin" and follow the instructions on each page.