And finally, I have to admit that today also left me wanting for more.
As I heard superlative after superlative heaped on Nelson Mandela, I couldn't help but think, Is there not more to reconciliation than the realization of Ubuntu (the South African idea of human interconnectedness)? Is there not more to reconciliation than the end of apartheid, as valid and vital as that is?
As Christians, the answer Scripture offers is—yes.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)
All aspirations and efforts toward human reconciliation are God-given longings for the realities of reconciliation expressed in 2 Corinthians 5. If Mandela can inspire a handshake between presidents Obama and Castro, what glorious, newsworthy reconciliation can the gospel inspire and bring to reality in your life and in this world?
But it is a reconciliation that demands our appeal, our imploring of people to be reconciled to God. There is a message, a powerful message to be shared. Anything short of that lacks the lasting and eternal impact we all desire.
As the new CEO of The Lausanne Movement, I have a lot to learn.
I've learned more about South Africa in a day than I could have learned in months. I'm learning about leaders both living and gone. I'm learning to be humbly mindful of what I can learn from nearly anyone. And I'm learning that our earthly lives and earthly efforts for earthly causes can not only be worthwhile endeavors, but that such earthly lives can also beautifully display the full reconciling and transformative power of the gospel, if we'll be faithful to share clearly its good news.
Learn more about Lausanne and its vision of calling the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world at www.lausanne.org.