This past week, people around the world gave thanks for the life of Archbishop Demond Tutu, who died the day after Christmas. Like many long-lived saints, it seemed at times that he would be with us always, but at 90 his work was completed.
Last week as I googled my way through quotes I ran across this paragraph. It is more than 17 years old and yet it still rings true.
“Dear Child of God, I write these words because we all experience sadness, we all come at times to despair, and we all lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in the world will ever end. I want to share with you my faith and my understanding that this suffering can be transformed and redeemed. There is no such thing as a totally hopeless case. Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, and God can do so always, can do so now–in our personal lives and in our lives as nations, globally. … Indeed, God is transforming the world now–through us–because God loves us.” [God Has A Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Times]
Tutu understood the necessity of hope. Throughout his life, he ardently fought for the rights of marginalized people. He fought for equality in his own country and around the world. And he did so with hope, knowing that there is nothing that God cannot transform.
Gracious God, thank you for all who bear witness to the hope that is found in you. Help us to remember that you can deal with any brokenness that we might experience and may we also remember that one of your best tools for transformation is people of faith. People like us. Amen
Heidi Rodrick-Schnaath is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is currently the Interim Pastor at Christ’s Lutheran Church in Oreland, PA. She also serves as the Coordinator for Community Life at United Lutheran Seminary.