What captures your imagination? What stories stick with you long after their telling? What images speak to you in a way far deeper than words can convey?
Today, as the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, I am reminded of a story that still speaks to me long after I read it. The story is the novel The Beloved Country by Alan Paton. It's the story of two fathers--one black and one white--whose lives collide and converge in a South Africa becoming increasingly more violently divided along lines of race and kin. What I remember most about this novel I read long ago is not the plot but the story of the author and his banning by his homeland--a banning that tore his heart apart. Alan Paton, a white man, testified at the trial of Nelson Mandela, and that was part of Paton's undoing. Yet it was not until years later that I even got a glimmer of what that title "Cry, the Beloved Country" really meant.
Tomorrow, we will join in worship and in fellowship with people who know well the truth of the prophet Isaiah. People who know that shoots do grow from stumps and that branches spring out from decaying roots. People from St. Martin's and people from St. Michael's. When worship has ended, when we've finished serving, when the last pot is put away, we'll join at Garcia's on 4th Street just north of Mountain and just behind St. Martin's. There we'll share stories of branches spring out from the roots of lives.
See you tomorrow.