Ubuntu: I am because you are (Reflection by Kris Rooney)

My husband and I woke up at 4:30am this morning because we heard a thud of some kind.  Chris sleepily got out of bed to check it out, saw nothing wrong in the house and came back to bed.  When I got up later in the morning, I saw that my neighbor’s garbage can had been hit and garbage was all over the street.  The next door neighbor had called the police to alert them.  Another neighbor came with a shovel and her own garbage can to clean it up.  Chris went out to help.  By then, the woman who owned the garbage can had woken up and was standing in her bathrobe…shaking her head at why someone would do such a thing.  By the time I had gotten ready for the day, everything was cleaned up and no one would have known anything had happened (except for the crushed can that needs replacing).

I was struck by how everyone came together to help a neighbor, even when she was still asleep.  I was struck by how much we need each other.

Desmond Tutu, who is most known for his anti-apartheid work, talks about ubuntu.  The African idea that we belong to one another.  That we must identify so much with each other that we see you as me and I as you.  We are one.  He describes it better than I can:

My hope is that we can apply this to who we are as church.  I see so many empty seats lately.  Sometimes I even think of being an empty seat myself.  But we need each other.  God made us to need each other.  It’s a reflection of our need for God.  So despite the ills – and I know they are grave – I’ve got to keep coming.  Because I need you.  And I need God, more than ever.  Church helps me feel more connected to all that.  Ubuntu.

This prayer is a beautiful Ubuntu prayer:

I am because you are…you are because I am

I am the ancestor and the unborn

You are the ancestor and the unborn

When I fail, you fail…When you fail, I fail

When I thrive, you thrive…When you thrive, I thrive

Wherever I go, I carry you

Wherever you go, you carry me

I am the ancestor and unborn

You are the ancestor and the unborn

I recognize the God in me, just as I recognize the God in you

I am because we are…you are because I am

I love you because I am you…AMEN

So let’s go pick up the trash together and be church.  Hope to see you there.  Ubuntu.

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One response

  1. Wonderful reflection Kris.

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