A Tribute to Desmond Tutu

by Christine Sine
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Desmond Tutu who died yesterday, was a huge example to me of how to live our lives – full of joy yet with a passionate desire for justice. The Book of Joy which he wrote in conjunction with the DaLai Lama was particularly influential.  Joy is a way of approaching the world, he says. “Our greatest joy comes when we reframe our situation more positively, experience gratitude and choose to be kind and generous.” In a nutshell, our greatest joy comes when we focus away from ourselves, and seek to do good for others. I don’t think that we could have any better advise for the world in which we live today.

The artwork above by Scott Erickson vibrates with some of that same joy in life.

As a tribute to Desmond Tutu I adapted a post I wrote in 2015. It contains two prayers associated with Desmond Tutu. The first is adapted from an original prayer by Sir Francis Drake. I first posted this prayer in 2013  years and it continues to be one of the most popular on my blog. I like to post it each year, usually during the season of Lent.

Disturb us, O Lord

when we are too well-pleased with ourselves 
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, 
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, O Lord

when with the abundance of things we possess, 
we have lost our thirst for the water of life 
when, having fallen in love with time, 
we have ceased to dream of eternity 
and in our efforts to build a new earth, 
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.

Stir us, O Lord

to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas 
where storms show Thy mastery, 
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes 
and invited the brave to follow.


The second prayer is from Desmond Tutu’s An African Prayer Book.

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

This has been adapted and put to music by John Bell.
The words for the song are:

Goodness is stronger than evil, Love is stronger than hate;
Light is stronger than darkness, life is stronger than death;
Victory is ours, Victory is ours
through God who loves us.
Victory is ours, Victory is ours
through God who loves us.

Music by John Bell
GIA (c) 1996 Iona Community

And much to my delight later found this delightful rendition of the song.

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