Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Life and death of a prophet: Nelson Mandela

During an adult study at church this past Sunday we discussed prophets.  These are people who are called by God to speak a word of truth and justice.  Some may be reluctant, such as Moses. Most may be wildly unpopular by those in power.  Jesus and John the Baptist met painful deaths because of their messages and unwillingness to soft peddle the truth. Speaking truth to power is dangerous.

Today a modern day prophet is being laid to rest, Nelson Mandela.  His message of justice brought him 27 years in prison, though he later became South Africa's president. As we were reminded by another modern day prophet, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."  So it is fitting that at least 91heads of state government were present for Nelson Mandela's public memorial service.

President Obama's address to the crowd included the following remarks... “It is hard to eulogize any man — to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person — their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul,” Mr. Obama said. “How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.”....
“It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion, generosity and truth. He changed laws, but also hearts.”

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela.  

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