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Wisdom Lives.

By David Poultney in All Sorts

reflections on lives that have been an inspiration

When I put together a roster for Connections articles for the first quarter of this year I omitted January, we would start next week and indeed I am writing that. However events over the last month or so have compelled me to write and share with you, even if I now have to write two articles in succession.

In the last month or so humanity has lost two wise teachers, two voices for justice, two men of faith rooted in their respective traditions. Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus and former Primate of the Anglican Church in South Africa and Thic Nhat Hanh; a Zen Buddhist monk and teacher. Both combined their spirituality with being present in the world and showing that authentic faith is lived out in justice making, reconciliation and community building.

And here in this community our beloved friend Marjorie Spittle has died. She is not known as they are around the World, but she is known to us, our lives and our life together has been enriched by her. And those of us who have shared ideas with her, discussed faith and doubt will remember her openness, truthfulness and humility in the face of Mystery. Likewise we remember her commitment to justice, not least in her advocacy for the people of West Papua.

When such people leave us, be they known around the world or in a more local way we can feel a sense of loss, a diminishment both of ourselves and indeed of the world. There is enough darkness out there, there is enough darkness in ourselves indeed that we need every light.
But though lives come to an end they live on in memory, they live on inspiration, they live on in our resolve to do right and to act with courage.

I would like to share with you a blessing by Glynn Cardy, who unfortunately has not been able to travel here and speak with us; this year I hope.

This is a blessing for those who are now at rest.
Blessed are those now at rest
who stood up when contemporaries
sat compliant and bowed to bullies and riches.
Blessed are those now at rest
who loved and lost, were shattered,
yet found courage to love and, maybe lose again.
Blessed are those now at rest
who ate poverty with loneliness,
praying and scheming for a better day.
Joy is glimpsed when trying
to hold to what is ultimately true:
love, friendship, justice –
and not just for a few.
Blessed are those now at rest who stood up,
who found courage, who prayed and schemed,
and who began the long journey home
to joy.

Our teachers and mentors die, yet wisdom lives. May their memory be a blessing

David Poultney