“And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.” Galatians 6: 9
At Sunday’s Sharon Katz concert, one of the audience members asked her to share a memory of Nelson Mandela. Being from South Africa, Sharon was raised during the Apartheid years. At great risk to herself, she travelled from township to township singing with the children. Eventually she brought them all together for the first ever Multi-tribe Concert of 500 children. Sharon had many opportunities to meet with Nelson Mandela. She told us of a time when she had a children’s choir of 200 and Mandela took the time to shake hands with every one of the children, getting down on their level and looking into their eyes.
After he spent 27 years of his life unjustly imprisoned, Mandela became a symbol of such gracious patience, forgiveness, and perseverance for doing what is right, not contingent on how he was treated. Sharon told us that when she spoke with him once, he whispered to her, “Keep going.” Keep doing the work of healing barriers.
How do some people have this endurance?
How do we learn to keep going when we experience failures, setbacks, discouragements, even hostility and indifference to our work? When we wonder if our work makes a difference?
Sharon looked at me and spoke those words Mandela spoke to her.
One degree of separation.
We keep going because of those moments in which we support one another. When we remember the “big” picture. When we remind ourselves that things worth doing are not easy and not completed in one lifetime.
When we are reminded that people find God one at a time, one special moment at a time, one meaningful encounter at the right moment. That people feel that moment of acceptance, forgiveness, healing, and love, for themselves. No one can do it for another. No one can force, demand, or manipulate someone else into this relationship with God.
All we can do is to stay faithful, stay open, caring, loving, including, welcoming to the community of faith.
Ya Bo (Yes in Zulu)
~~ Pastor Brenda
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