2/10/2011 — A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Nelson Mandela

Oh you beautiful fool…
Swimming upstream kicking up waves
Dreams weren’t meant to come true
That’s why they call them dreams…
“Beautiful Fool” By Don Henry

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, 
and make good on your promises to the Most High.
—Psalm 50:14

Master of the Universe, and provider of us all,
I raise up my praises this morning for a man named Nelson.
The reading this morning reminded me that it’s been over 20 years
since the doors of that prison were thrown open
an Nelson emerged as a free man.
He represented the hope of a nation, the dreams of a future
where all people were treated with respect and dignity.
After 27 years in chains, he was a man who deserved retribution,
but instead he promoted reconciliation,
understanding that we are, as your saint Martin told us 30 years earlier,
woven together in a “network of mutuality.”
Nelson Mandela could have brought war,
but instead he was a peacemaker, working for justice for all.
For your grace that made this man who he was and is,
we give you thanks.

Nelson, as our reading noted, once said that “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.” May we who live in a country that proclaims itself as free understand that with freedom comes the responsibility to respect the freedom of the other. Help us to know that our freedom simply frees us to offer love that is without bounds. Help us to recognize that our freedom comes with a cost, and that we will never be truly free until ALL people are free.

God I thank you for helping me to remember Nelson today,
and ask that you help me to sacrifice my own comfort
to live out his example of Kingdom life.

So be it. Amen.  

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