I remember reading Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, 26 years ago, in my first year as a Prison Chaplain. It had a profound effect on me. The story of a man who spent 27 years in prison, for daring to stand up to injustice on a industrial scale.
The title is simple but profound, refelecting an internal and external journey, and an indomitable spirit. He was a grace filled human being. I’ve chosen the quote above, because it encapsulates something of his own motivation and drive to help others discover their own grace.
One of the most difficult things we have to do on our life journey is to understand what grace is and how to share it. Please believe me I am no expert, simply an observer and seeker after grace. But what is grace? I don’t know is the answer, because there is no one definition; it is many things, and I think as unique to each of us, as we are.
For Nelson Mandela (see the quote above), it was something about ‘light’. Not defined, but something intangilble, that becomes real to others. This is grace, because is helps others find their own light and is not possessive or coercive. As I was ruminating on all this, I came across a translation (Contemporary English Version) of John’s Gospel, Chapter 1 verse 14; ‘The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only son of the Father. From him, all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.’ God’s grace in the person of Jesus Christ; offerd humbly.
Humility is a sign of the reality of God’s grace offered initially to us, but also through us to others in kindness and truth. Graceful moments…Jesus Christ, the Word become human and living with us, moment by moment. Mandela witnessed to this in his own unique way, as each of us do, in our particular manifestation in this time.
Thank you for who you are and the grace that has been given to you. You will ‘shine’ in your own way and as a result, ‘will give other other people permission to do the same.’
Here is a prayer you might like to use:
Creator of life and grace,
Giver of hope in fear and love in anxiety.
Help me to find your grace in everyday moments,
And calm in the storm.
Peace in the challenges
And the knowledge of your love.
Quite simply your gracefulness to share
With others. Amen