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Friday, December 6, 2013

Who Do You Want To Be?

On the death of Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2013:
“We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”
— Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa
NELSON MANDELA (1918–2013), one of the true legends of the Twentieth century, was truly a legend for what he fought for, for what he suffered, for what he stood for, and for the uniqueness of his character – amongst other legendary characteristics. His legend was borne not on infamy, but on the consistency of his courage, his wisdom, and his grace.
A poem on the man that I call, 20th Century Hero:
Cometh the hour, cometh the man,
Madiba saw what few could see,
He did what few would do,
Fighting against Apartheid’s oppression,
Finally he brought his homeland to unity.
Winding back the clock to 1948, who would have foreseen the events of the next fifty years? Nearly three decades of imprisonment together with over two as President and ambassador of peace. He took a broken country in 1994 and made it whole in a few short years. And it might be fair to say that South Africa is not the nation it could be today because he – or a person like him – is not at the helm.
There is something in Mandela that gets in our blood; the seeking to be like him.
Going Past Envy In You and Me
It is far too easy to envy someone like Nelson Mandela – as many of his enemies have. He was an enigma in the best of ways. If we turn President Zuma’s quote on its head it can lead us into a fuller realisation of who we want to be – as uniquely purposed and identified individuals.
“We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”
What this quote does is it invites us into Mandela so we might imitate his noblest personality characteristics. And perhaps we saw in him what we seek in ourselves because we saw Jesus in Mandela.
If we are to adopt something of the mode of Mandela, the 20th Century Hero, then we will first need to reflect on his life and meditate over what he did and how he did it. We will read about his life. We have a model of someone who personified the Lord Jesus on the national stage as much as anyone could. Yet he was not without sin.
When we reflect on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, we have the opportunity to take into ourselves who he was and who we might be. Do we see something in who he was that we seek to be?
Today is the time to be more of who we wish to become.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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