Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Redeeming The Past

Last night I had the pleasure of going to the book launch for Fr. Michael Lapsley's new book "Redeeming The Past." Fr Michael is originally from New Zealand, but moved to South Africa in the 1970s during the height of the apartheid government. He worked for years to end the suffering and oppression of the apartheid regime. Due to his active dissent towards the government he was forced to move to Lesotho, where he continued his work. In 1990, while working in Zimbabwe, Fr Michael received a package from the South African government that contained a bomb. Upon opening the package, the bomb exploded and severely injured Fr. Michael. He lost both of his hands and one of his eyes, but he survived. He has gone on to work with the victims of apartheid, the Rwandan genocide, homeless veterans in the United States and many more. His story is truly inspirational. Fr. Michael still does some work in Lesotho, so hopefully I will be able to work with him his year. 

The book launch was attended by many members of the local government and had many speakers, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu! It was quite an honor to hear Bishop Tutu speak. Fr. Michael and Bishop Tutu had worked together over the years to help end the apartheid government. Bishop Tutu spoke about how far South Africa had come, and how far it needs to go. His words were filled with love, humor, and passion. He made strong warnings about not letting the sacrifices that the South African people had made for freedom be in vain. "But I ask myself, why were we in the struggle? The highest price was paid for freedom, but are we treating it as something precious?" 

He also spoke out against such a large gap in the wealth in South Africa and throughout the world. He said that it was a shame that some people can live so well, while others are left with next to nothing. He asks, "Yes it is legal, but is it moral?" It was a true honor to have heard Bishop Tutu speak. As Delene and I rode back from the launch she said, "It is nearly impossible to hear Tutu speak and not act upon his words." And it is so true. It is easy to see how this man has inspired so many to fight against oppression. 

1 comment:

  1. Father Michael came and spoke at my seminary last year, and it was one of the most moving talks I have ever heard. He really is inspirational! I'm glad you got to hear both him and Archbishop Tutu.

    (P.S. Archbishop Tutu's daughter, Mpho, was my spiritual director for a year before she moved back to South Africa! She is amazing. That's awesome that you got to meet her!)