Friday 24 March 2023

A prayer for the unveiling of a statue of Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba delivered the following opening prayer at the unveiling of a bronze statue of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at Century City in Cape Town on March 23: 

I greet you in the name of the loving, inclusive God whom Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu worshipped: Good morning! 

Archbishop Desmond was a deeply devout, spiritual and prayerful person, whose alpha and omega was his relationship with our Creator. He believed that each of us was made in the image of this loving, inclusive God, and so he put the happiness and well-being of God's children at the centre of his outreach to the world. If you visited him while ill in hospital, you found that you, not he, were the subject of his prayers. If you arrived early for Mass at his home, you found him deep in silent prayer for the world and its people. In that spirit, we begin the unveiling of his statue, recalling his love for South Africa and the world. 

We thank Mama Leah and the Tutu family for sharing Tata with the world. We also give thanks for Dali and the Tambo family, for the benefactors of this project and for the public servants dedicated to the well-being of our people who have joined us today. 

Adapting prayers that Archbishop Desmond collected in his African Prayer Book, let us pray: 

Lord God, we thank you for our grandmothers and grandfathers who taught us to believe in liberation;

For all those who are great names in our country now, many represented here in this heritage site. 

Many are named with our own names, treasured in our hearts, honoured in our memories, resting both in South Africa and in graves in other lands. 

We thank you for our democracy, for the human rights promised us that we celebrate this week, especially for the right to peaceful protest and to political agitation; 

And we pray that you will strengthen us for the difficult times to come as we respond to the call to be the best that we can be; 

As we engage in the New Struggle, the struggle to realise economic as well as political liberation, to establish equality of opportunity, and to build a nation which will improve the lives of the poorest of the poor, so we end with Desmond Tutu's hymn of hope: 

Goodness is stronger than evil; 
Love is stronger than hate; 
Light is stronger than darkness; 
Life is stronger than death; and 
Victory is ours through Him who loves us. Amen


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