I Have a Dream


Friday 2 July 2010: 3 years 10 months on . . .

Dear God

We had all been waiting for this day! Tuesday 22 June 2010.

Bafana Bafana were taking on the might of France in a do-or-die encounter in the FIFA 2010 World Cup ™. From the hype that preceded the day, it appeared that the entire future of our nation depended squarely on the outcome of this game. It was touted as the Battle of Bloemfontein!

So, at 15h00, together with 10 000 other fans, Sean, Phillip and I headed off to the St George’s Fan Park™. I was not feeling well but was definitely not going to miss out on this encounter.

We needed to beat France and to beat them comprehensively by 4 or 5 goals in order to stay in the competition. It was a tall order. But, the crowd erupted time and time again as The Boys kept the goals and the near-goals coming.

As darkness fell, the almost full moon came up over the largest TV screen in the country. For a moment there, God, I thought I was looking at You directly in the Face.

And I asked you “God, please let us win this one. You know how much our country needs this win!” But, as so often in life, You appeared not to hear or to have some other ideas about this.

In the end, we won the skirmish, lost the battle and won the war. Yes, we beat France by 2 –1, but did not do enough to remain in the competition’s next round of the 16 top teams. However, in the grand scheme of World Cups, and as I have written before (see Oh What a Circus Oh What a Show), despite not winning the tournament, our country has emerged as the winner simply by hosting this Show in such a successful manner. It has transformed our nation.

This Show has reminded me so much about Life.

Sean and Phillip had long since left me to join up with their mates. And so, despite being surrounded by 10 000 excited people, I was there alone and not feeling well. And, like so many people in this world, when the hype was at its highest, I was actually feeling down and lonely and scared as I pondered life. In the hype of life, let us never forget those amongst us who are alone and who feel lonely.

This Show has reminded me so much about Life.

I spoke to You, the Man in the Moon, as You smiled down at us. I think You also created World Cups for Your people and You saw that it was good.

This Show and Life have so much in common.

There is the euphoria when we announce the arrival to the world. There is the preparation and the infrastructure required. The hard work and the sleepless nights follow.

Along the way, there are the highlights and the lowlights; the ups and the downs; the victories and the losses. There is happiness and sadness and tears and laughs. We win some and we lose some.

And, sometimes, things appear not to be fair. Sometimes, they are just NOT fair. Sometimes, winning at all costs is so important that the rules are flouted. Sometimes, the cheaters win. But all the time, everything is under control.

And, when things get tough and tight, like the penalty shoot outs tonight, then, God, we raise our hands to Heaven and to You, and ask for Your help!

Some get to stay to the very end. Some get extra time. Some get injured and some get through relatively unscathed.

Some are sent off early. Some of us get red-carded along the way and we can take no more part in the show. We get sidelined. And we don’t always understand . . . and we ask why. There are answers sometimes and sometimes there are not. We have to accept the Referee’s decision.

And it’s OK to cry when we hurt ! Even big well-built men who seemingly have the world at their feet cry, and on international television nogal! The players cry, the coaches cry, we cry! Who said that cowboys don’t cry?

And, as we are told in the press today that the Port Elizabeth’s Boet Erasmus Stadium will close down permanently tomorrow, we are reminded that nothing in this life continues indefinitely – not the Boet, not the World Cup Show, not Life itself.

Only You remain the same – yesterday, today and forever. And You remain the Winner!

And, when it comes to an end, will it be remembered? Did it truly make a difference? What is left behind? What legacy is left? Is it a better place?

Martin Luther King said:

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

[See the full text of Martin Luther King’s speech below]

Ironically, today, exactly 46 years ago, on 2 July 1964, US President Lyndon Johnson signed the US Civil Rights Bill, which prohibited racial discrimination in the United States of America.

In his inauguration speech as President of the Republic of South Africa in 1994, Nelson Mandela spoke of his dream:

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

Susan Boyle sings “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables:

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving

I dream too.

I dream that I will wake up in a country that works. I dream that this country and its people will learn from the World Cup Show, and will continue with this flame that it has kindled. That it will set the World alight, much as it has done for the last few weeks. We can’t afford to let the flame die. We need a New New South Africa. Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

I dream that I will wake up in a body that works. I dream of the Life to come.

Revelation

Chapter 21

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is at thirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

[See the text of Revelation 21 below]

 

 

A WORLD CUP BLESSING

 May all your penalties and offences be overlooked.

May you never go offside.

May evil never tackle you.

May your life go into extra time.

May you never get a red card out of Heaven,

And may you win the trophy of Heaven in the final.

(Anon)

——————————————————————————————————————-

The full text of Martin Luther King’s speech:

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

THE TEXT OF REVELATION CHAPTER 21

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

 

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2 comments on “I Have a Dream

  1. Thank you Ed for sharing so much of yourself with others. It is humbling for me to be part of your journey. Much love, Denise

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