As we enter the second week of Lent, being reminded of the concept of ubuntu might help us to edge closer to an understanding of what goodness and freedom look like in action. Too often we think that our goodness is something we work out as an individual and our freedom is something we need to claim and assert in a personal way. Ubuntu reminds us that there is no goodness or freedom that can be conceived outside of our relationships. How might we live beyond ‘the small prison of our own cares, wants and worries’ to a greater liberation where we recognise our need of one another even as we claim our own unique place of belonging? Desmond and Mpho Tutu write;
…in our own South African lexicon godly perfection is described by the multifaceted concept of “ubuntu.” Ubuntu recognizes the interconnectedness of life. My humanity, we say, is bound up with your humanity. One consequence of ubuntu is that we recognize that we all need to live our lives in ways that ensure that others may live well. Our flourishing should enhance the lives of others, not detract from them…
The logic of Christian faith—indeed, the logic of ubuntu— is that our lives are not all about us. In the deepest, most significant way, the goal of human life is not to wring the greatest personal pleasure out of every moment. The goal of human life is to live beyond the small, narrow prison of our own cares, wants, and worries. By learning to choose what is good and right, we give ourselves the keys to true freedom.
Tutu, Desmond; Tutu, Mpho. Made For Goodness, Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
And so for this second week of Lent we pray;
Unknown God
whose name is not ours
to claim and own:
we come to you with empty hands
and fragile foundations;
free us from the desire
to judge who is yours and who is not
that we might live in freedom,
rooted and grounded in your love alone; through Jesus Christ, the grace of God
. Amen.
(From Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare)
Grace and peace,

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