Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 – NLT)
In your infinite love for women and men,
you incarnated yourself in Christ,
and revealed your nature and your purpose to us;
In your infinite love for poor and wealthy,
you laid aside your glory
and walked among us as one of us;
In your infinite love for every race and tribe and nation,
you brought a new world into being
and taught us to live as citizens of God’s Reign;
But, you have not stopped incarnating yourself,
you still reveal yourself and your Reign of love and justice
to all who will see,
and to all who open their hearts and lives to you.
We praise and thank you, O God,
for the people through whom you reveal yourself still;
for those who give themselves to build a world
based on the values of your reign
of love, justice, peace and reconciliation.
Today especially we celebrate the “little incarnation” that was Nelson Mandela,
who gave his life for the sake of justice and freedom,
who lived the world-healing practices
of forgiveness, inclusivity, compassion and integrity.
We praise and thank you, O God, for Nelson Mandela
for his faithfulness to your call,
his example of justice, peace and reconciliation,
and his courage to endure suffering, rejection and persecution
for the sake of others.
This liturgy is written by John Van de Laar as part of a remembrance service for Nelson Mandela. John is a Methodist minister and worship leader in South Africa. You can read the entire liturgy and other liturgical resources here.