|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on December 29, 2021 at 10:50 AM|
This past Sunday morning, we awoke to news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was a theologian of renown and a bishop in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. While he was much-beloved, let us also remember that his activism was considered “too radical” by many during the height of South African apartheid.
I had the opportunity to hear him preach once, in 2010 in Hartford, CT. I do not recall his exact words, but I do remember how the room felt when he spoke - electric. And I remember that he held his arms wide open for almost the entire sermon. His posture embodied the wideness of the love of the God who sustained his life. As the world mourns the loss of this modern saint, may each of us strive to keep our arms wide open in a posture of love.
Chris has a beautiful children's book co-written by Bishop Tutu. The photo you see is from this book called God's Dream. And below are some quotations from Tutu; I hope you find them inspiring.
Blessings to each of you in this Christmas season, and my prayers are with each of you as we begin a new calendar year.
Yours in Christ,
"I don't preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, "Now is that political, or social?" He said: "I feed you." Because the good news to a hungry person is bread."
“Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.”
“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”
“I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.”
“We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.”
“You and I are created for transcendence, laughter, caring. God deliberately did not make the world perfect, for God is looking for you and me to be fellow workers with God.”
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
“God's love is too great to be confined to any one side of a conflict or to any one religion.”
“Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.”
“Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
“When we look squarely at injustice and get involved, we actually feel less pain, not more, because we overcome the gnawing guilt and despair that festers under our numbness. We clean the wound - our own and others' - and it can finally heal.”
“This is a moral universe, which means that despite all the evidence that seems to be to the contrary, there is no way that evil and injustice and oppression and lies can have the last word... that is what has upheld the morale of our people, to know that in the end good will prevail.”