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Prayer Service of Remembrance for Nelson Mandela


Through his life of activism, perseverance in peacemaking, and gracious leadership, Nelson Mandela shaped the world and our own lives in powerful and incomparable ways.  Come join us at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square this Sunday, December 8 at 7pm for a Prayer Service of Remembrance for Nelson Mandela – a time of reflection, prayer, and song.

Please bring yourself and a candle to light.  There will be a time for participants to share a brief reflection on how the activism and witness of this incredible leader shaped their own lives.  We will also share in a time of remembrance, hearing Mandela’s own words of peacemaking and forgiveness, and of song, singing together South African hymns.

Prayer of Remembrance for Nelson Mandela

Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:00pm


Participants enter to drums and prelude music.

Music is taught to the assembly and Pastor Erik gives the welcome.

1)   Let’ isikia (3x), yo-oh, let’ isikia.                              (You hold the key)

3)  Vula masango (3x), yo-oh, vula masango.               (Open the door)

3)   Shaito bena (3x), yo-oh, shaito bena.                       (Walk through)

4) Freedom is coming (3x), yo-oh, freedom is coming

(See Freedom is Coming on Youtube.)

preparingBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all mercy and the God of all consolation, who comforts us in all our sorrows so that we can comfort others in their sorrows with the consolation we ourselves have received from God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.

Let us pray. God of all peoples, your arms reach out to embrace this entire creation.  Teach us as disciples of Jesus to love the world with passion, fervor, and forgiveness.  Make us strong to walk faithfully alongside one another, with the boldness and courage the you enliven within us, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Friend.



From Mandela’s speech that put him in prison for 27 years, June of 1964:

“Political division, based on colour, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one colour group by another.

The ANC has spent half a century fighting against racialism. When it triumphs it will not change that policy.

This then is what the ANC is fighting.  [The] struggle [of the African National Congress] is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and their own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live. During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal that I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

A reading from First Thessalonians:  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.   (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

From Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address on May 10, 1994:

“The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country, the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving terms of imprisonment.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

altarWe are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!

God bless Africa!”

A reading from Micah:

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
   and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God?

(Micah 6:8)

More words from Nelson Mandela:

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

“The world is truly round and seems to start and end with those we love.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

A reading from Hebrews: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

globeLighting of candles.

We know that our brother Nelson was not only influential in the lives of South Africans and in the political and social movement of that place, but in communities and nations all over the world.  As we gather in remembrance tonight, we’ll take a few minutes here to sing together and to light candles with the acknowledgement that his live affected so many.  I invite you, as we sing, to come up and place a candle on our map of the world – on a particular place that means a lot to you and your story, on a place where you’ve seen Nelson’s work of justice lived out, or where we know the wisdom imparted by this leader still needs to be embodied.  And in this we pray, come Holy Spirit, fill the world with your peace.

Open space.

We invite anyone who might be interested to share a brief reflection about the ways that Mandela’s life and witness shaped their own.  Whether it is perseverance in activism, tireless peacemaking, or gracious leadership, we as individuals and as a community have been transformed by his presence in this world.


Thuma Mina (South Africa)

Thuma mina, thuma mina, thuma mina so mandla.

(Verses of Thuma Mina are sung between prayer petitions.)

O God, our help in ages past and our hope for years to come: We give you thanks for all your faithful people who have followed the light of your word throughout the centuries into our time and place.

Guide us, Lord,…

God of Mercy, we pray for the downtrodden, the oppressed, the lonely, and the exile.  For those without a home or a hope; for those whom which no one prays.  Break into our world with grace to impart, and help us to lift our voices alongside those of whom the world has trampled.

Fill us, Lord…

Ever gracious God, we pray for the oppressors of the world; for those whose action or ambivalence cause great pain and sorrow in communities that span your creation.  Give us clarity to see the ways that we partake in oppressive systems, and bring reconciliation to your entire world, so that oppressed and oppressor alike might find peace.

Lead us, Lord…

Forgiving God, the time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.  Give us guidance to forgive one another and to move beyond the hatred of the past.

Thuma mina…

God of Life, we thank you for the humanness of Nelson Mandela.  For his struggles and mistakes along the way, for they remind us that with great influence and impact, also comes humility.  Give us the courage to envision that in our humanness we might also find the courage to work for justice and freedom, always seeking your will for the world.

Send us, Lord…

God of Hope, we continue on our Advent journey with hearts and minds that are eagerly awaiting your breaking into our world, while also recognizing the Holy that is already here in our midst.  O come, Emmanuel, again into a world in need, keeping us alive with hope for the kingdom you have promised.

Fill us, Lord…

For what else do we pray?

Guide us, Lord…

Holy God, grant us courage to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression. Help us, like your servant Nelson Mandela, to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

Our Father in heaven,

            hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,

            your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

            as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,

            now and forever. Amen.


Almighty God bless us, defend us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.


A remembrance of Nelson Mandela’s life wouldn’t be complete without joyous song.  Let’s joing together in Hamba Nathi [“Come, Walk with Us” in the South African language of isiXhosa] .

Sending Song – Hamba Nathi (South Africa)

Hamba nathi mkululu wethu (4x)

Mkululu, mkululu, mkululu wethu (4x)

Come walk with us, the journey is long (4x)

The journey, the journey, the journey is long (4x)


Go in peace, remember the poor.

Thanks be to God.

Related post

On Tuesday, June 5,  2012, members of St. Luke’s, together with representatives of the Chicago Consultation, Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches, Gay Liberation Network (GLN) Chicago, and other friends met at  St. Luke’s with Judith Kotzé and Ingrid Schoonraad from Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM) in South Africa for a fascinating discussing about advocacy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

(See IAM at St. Luke’s: Making the Chicago-South Africa Connection)

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Comments (2)

  1. joescarry


    From our friends at IAM in South Africa:

    “The days are mixed with such sadness and gratitude since Madiba’s passing and words so limited to express it all.

    “And as you reflect today on this man and the legacy he left behind for all of us, remember his words ‘No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’ – Nelson Mandela

    “So many prayed over the last days ‘Rest in peace, Tata Madiba. Your unwavering courage, forgiveness and hope touched and inspired people all around the world. You showed that the dream of a just society is possible and may God help us to not shy away to follow in your footsteps as you challenge our generation to lead the way towards it.'”

    God bless

    Rev Judith Kotzé

  2. Pingback: Humanitarian Award, in remembrance of Nelson Mandela | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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