Friday, December 06, 2013

Advent 2013 : Day 6

Zechariah’s words, spoken over his son –

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of all their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. –

spoken in response to his angel-encounter,

swirl through history until they settle on a child born in the Cape, in 1918 – a son on whom is laid the mantle Rolihlahla, ‘trouble-maker’…

When I was a child, my government told me that Mandela was a terrorist, a dangerous man who must not be free. When I became a man, he became an elder statesman to the world. We discovered that it was us who were in a prison cell, and he led us on a long walk to freedom.

How did we go from demonising this man to loving him? One repentant step at a time.

When I was a man, my government told me that bin Laden was a terrorist, a dangerous man who must not go free. But we killed him before we asked, from what prison cell might this deeply flawed man – as we all are – free us?

So when the British Prime Minister and American President praise Mandela, remember: Mandela opened the door to our prison cell - a door Christ had unlocked - but we have chosen to return to the comfort of its familiar walls...

When Jesus said, "Love your enemy, and pray for those who persecute you" he was only giving us the first step.

The next step is, "Love your enemy, and pray with those who persecuted you."

And the next step is, discover that your enemy has become your critical - but committed - friend...

Today, we have a choice: will we take the first step on the long road to freedom?

I cannot be sad that a great man, whose life was an epic journey, and whose mortal body had worn frail, has entered into eternity. Rest In Peace, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, and Rise In Glory.

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