From An African Prayer Book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
O Lord, O Ruler of the world, O Creator, O Father
This prayer is for Africa, for our brothers in the South, our brothers in the North…
We know that our White brothers have made their Black brothers second class people. O Lord, this hurts us so much. We suffer from this.
You have given us a dark skin so that we may better bear your strong sun.
Why have our brothers done this to us? They are not better than we. And we are not better than they.
What comforts us is that you always love most those who suffer most.
We call ourselves Christians on both sides, but we go to different churches as if there were also different heavens.
The White men still have power in parts of Africa. Help them to use their power wisely and accept us as brothers. Take the mistrust out of their hearts and minds and make them share with us. For this is our continent, or more truly, Yours. For you have marked us for this continent and them for the North.
We also pray for ourselves: O Lord, keep our hearts from hatred, and help us also to be grateful for what missionaries have done here too, for government and the economy. Let us become brothers again, as it should be among your children.
You have died for all and risen. Hallelujah! We praise you, our Father. Who is greater than Europe and Africa, who loves where we hate, who long ago could have destroyed us. But you love us so much, and we have not deserved it. Praise be to you, O Lord.
[comment imported from my Radio blog]
Interesting prayer by ole Tutu. I wonder what he means when he says “You have marked us for this continent, and them for the North.”
I think this is one fundamental view that will have to change for there to be peace in Africa. As the son of a son of Africa, I resent the inference that “we” (aka white people born and raised in Africa) somehow don’t belong there. Look at what’s happening in Zimbabwe. Do we justify that because white people were marked by God for the North? If we do, then we must sit back idly when and if the Cherokee and the Sioux start taking back their lands and forcing us off of farms and land our ancestors have owned for generations.
I think it is imperative that “spiritual” leaders like Desmond Tutu should be at the forefront of reconciliation between whites and blacks in Africa. The sort of divine division that he seems to propose here in this prayer (and I hope I am mistaken), will only lead to more animosity and, like Zimbabwe, more bloodshed because of the color of people’s skins.
Greg • 8/24/04; 2:45:46 PM #
I wondered about that phrase–“marked for the North”–as well. There is an implication that White people belong in the North and Blacks in the South, which may have worked in previous centuries but does not work, nor is it appropriate nor the reality today. Thanks for your thoughts and well taken. gt
Greg Taylor • 8/26/04; 12:07:44 PM #