The Living Church

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The Living ChurchDecember 6, 1998Archbishop Tutu Speaks About 'the Price of Peace' by Anne Carson217(23) p. 8

Bishop Tutu: 'Jesus Christ represents all those who are tortured for their beliefs.'

The Most Rev. Desmond Tutu, retired Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, was the keynote speaker at the public lecture "Reconciling the Troubled Spirit in a Broken World" Oct. 23 at Washington National Cathedral. The lecture was part of the Mollegen Forum series, which honors the late Rev. Albert T. Mollegen, former professor at Virginia Theological Seminary.

During a ceremony that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the raising of the Peace Cross and the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that preceded the lecture, Archbishop Tutu said, "Jesus Christ represents all those who are tortured for their beliefs," those who are "oppressed and broken in spirit." In his peacemaker's affirmation of faith, he stated, "Goodness is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death; ... victory is ours through him who loved us."

During his lecture, Archbishop Tutu spoke of God's omnipotence in always seeking "the human element in his divine activity." An ironical theme in the omniscient plan is manifested in a God "born of frail flesh ... (who) wants to work with feeble, puny creatures to accomplish his goals. God is staggeringly, apparently ever ready it seems to jeopardize his purposes just in order to engage the collaboration of God's human partner ... In (his) infinite mercy and incomprehensible humility ... God without us will not, as we, without God, cannot."

"The price of peace is eternal vigilance," Archbishop Tutu said. "Forgiveness is costly. Reconciliation is not an easy option. It cost God the death of his Son ... God hears the screams of those who are tortured ... God sees the grinding poverty and the disease ... (and) God would have it otherwise ... Dear friends, God believes in you and God depends on you."

After his lecture, the archbishop answered questions from the audience. When he was asked to reflect on the Lambeth Conference's resolution on sexuality, Archbishop Tutu responded, "Where would Jesus be?"