'For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.' Nelson Mandela
Today the world mourns the death of one extraordinary man, someone whose courage and determination literally changed the face of the world.
Yesterday evening, I sat and watched the news and the tributes pouring in for Nelson Mandela with the Dean of Kimberley, two white people, with a connection to our brothers and sisters in South Africa. As people who have looked on at the struggle of others to gain what we take for granted, growing up while the struggle to end apartheid was going on, thankfully knowing as adults that race should never be a divide.
Bishop John and I never made it to Rabben Island when we first visited South Africa in 2008. We were in Cape Town for the inauguration of the new Archbishop, and had visited the Waterfront where Mandela's statute stands with Desmond Tuto and other heroes of the South African story, sadly though the timing did not work and we missed literally missed the boat. However we did make it to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg another time and were gripped and moved by the story and the stories of courage, self sacrifice and then eventual graciousness and forgiveness.
Amongst the clergy in Kimberley and Kuruman there are many other stories of courage and hope, including some who have shared in Nelson Mandela's own story. Our thoughts today are with the Africa people. South Africa is a complex country and the struggle for equality in many spheres continues to go on. Today we honour a man of deep conviction, who is an example to all of us of graceful determination.
I am reminded this morning of Christ's call to bring release to the prisoners and of all those around the world still enslaved.
What if.... we too all worked to bring others the freedom we so enjoy?