Category Archives: General

Rest In Peace, Madiba

MandelaVisit

A life-changing moment when the father of the nation visited the newsroom at the Pretoria News and took time to shake hands with each of us. His boxer hands were huge and warm and his eyes were so very kind.

In the days immediately preceding his visit he stood in the Pretoria High Court where the powerful national rugby union was questioning whether President Mandela “applied his mind” to a decision to institute a Commission of Inquiry into their affairs. I was a reporter in that courtroom. As he took the stand the judge asked him to be seated and the president said that he had stood in that court before and would stand until the questioning was over. It lasted the better part of two days.

What impressed me most was that at every break he would come to the gallery and greet the people. Madiba’s love for us overflowed as he touched as many hands as he could. It did not matter what our color was or how we were dressed or what our purpose was for being there. His great big heart was open to all – even to a young white reporter.

His courage, strength, grace, kindness, and mercy touched me deeply and I am so grateful for his example. I’m sure many more had far more profound interactions with Madiba, but for me those two brief encounters encouraged me to step out and step up and act on my dreams for a just and peaceful world.

You are loved, Mr. Mandela, and you will be missed.

In the beautiful words of Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba:

“Go forth, revolutionary and loving soul, on your journey out of this world,
in the name of God, who created you, suffered with you and liberated you.

“Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is
good, noble and honourable for God’s people.

“We will continue where you have left off,
the Lord being our helper.”

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Thoughts on Sabbath

At our weekly Commune service last night I offered reflections on keeping the Sabbath. Using a beautiful translation by Everett Fox of the Torah we remembered how, after God looked over the world and declared it “exceedingly good,” God rested on the seventh day. God blessed it and hallowed it, and ceased from all work on it. We then read the commandment: “Remember the Sabbath Day, to hallow it. For six days you are to serve, and to make all your work, but the seventh day is Sabbath for YHWH your God.”

I then asked the community to reflect on how well they’re honoring the Sabbath. I invite you to do the same. Do you take time to simply enjoy the company of your family and friends and take time to rest? Or do you find yourself working, worrying, shopping, or in a vegetative state in front of the TV cursing the Sox (Red or White) for another loss?

One of the loveliest descriptions I’ve read about keeping the Sabbath comes from Abraham Joshua Heschel. He writes in The Sabbath (a truly marvelous work): “The art of keeping the seventh day is the art of painting on the canvas of time the mysterious grandeur of the climax of creation: as He sanctified the seventh day, so shall we. The love of the Sabbath is the love of man for what he and God have in common. Our keeping the Sabbath day is a paraphrase of His sanctification of the seventh day.”

The Sabbath is not something we honor simply to give ourselves an excuse not to do work or to do things we otherwise would not do. The Sabbath is a gift from our Creator – a gift of love whereby we get to take time to intentionally reflect on and enjoy and participate in God’s beautiful creation. Sabbath rest should be blessed rest that leaves us renewed and ready to face the opportunities and challenges presented on every other day of the week. By honoring the Sabbath we honor God. By honoring the Sabbath we participate in the Holy in a way that our regular work does not often afford. So let’s make every effort in the weeks to come to try to develop Sabbath practices that enrich and enliven us.

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Holy Week Reflection

I enter Holy Week

Loud hosannas give way to silence
into which the Word was
breathed at the beginning of time
ordaining the sacred to flow through
the chaos of misdirected musings

Silence gives way to lament
for the rage that corrupts the
atmosphere and harms a world sung
into being when the First Hymn
proclaimed all was good

Lament deepens into fear
that all is lost to the ways
of the world that rejected the one
who sought to bring it home again
into the arms of the One who made it

Fear takes flight as love
fleetingly at first takes hold
in a consciousness that drowns
the power of the mighty
in the humility of the weak and oppressed

Love and hope join hand in hand in
faith that can move the stone
from the entrance to a tomb that seeks
to shackle the grace into which
even the sinning are accepted

I prepare for Easter morning

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