Posted: December 09
“What are you waiting for?”
This year’s Advent devotions will reflect on one of the main themes of Advent: waiting. What are the things we are waiting for? How do we wait? What do we do as we wait? May this season of your waiting and anticipation be blessed.
Monday December 9th
“One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues. There was a woman there who for eighteen years had a sickness caused by a spirit. She was bent double, quite incapable of standing up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are free of your infirmity.’ He laid his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight and began thanking God.”
Luke 13:10-13, The Inclusive Bible
Nelson Mandela, South African activist, revolutionary, prophet, and the first black and democratically elected president, died last Thursday at the age of 95. It is amazing he lived that long, considering what hardships he had to go through during his life. Mandela spent more than 27 years, that’s more than a quarter of his lifetime, in prison because of his engagement in the anti-apartheid movement, a movement to fight institutionalized racism and injustice. 18 of those years, he spent in the infamous detention facility on Robben Island, in almost complete isolation from the outside world. For the first years of his incarceration, Mandela did not have a bed, but had to sleep on the floor. His cell on Robben Island had no plumbing. Together with other political prisoners, he was subjected to hard labor. He was permitted one letter and one visitor once every six months.
Despite all the attempts to break Nelson Mandela’s spirit, he never gave up. For more than 10,000 days, Nelson Mandela waited – waited for justice, waited to be released, waited for the time South Africa would be transformed. From his prison cell, he couldn’t do much – but he could survive, and continue to be remembered. Even in prison, Mandela remained a force to be reckoned with, a symbol, an icon. Someone with a purpose worth fighting for. And Mandela could hope, against all hope and against all odds, that his dream of justice and freedom for all in South Africa would become true.
There were many influential people rallying for Mandela’s release through the years. In the end, he was free to go. The waiting was over, but the hoping continued. After his release, Mandela didn’t lose any time and used his status and his influence to continue the work he had started so many years before. He worked for the end of apartheid and racial reconciliation, he even worked together with former adversaries, and eventually served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
As we await the coming of Christ and the freedom from all that binds and imprisons us, may we remember Nelson Mandela as an example of resilience, perseverance, and forgiveness. God will set us free. We can wait in hope and faith.
Pastor Kerstin Weidmann