Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh

 annunciation -coptic textile1. 'UBUNTU'.

There are two focal points, touchstones for me, when I think of "theology " of Desmond Tutu:

- One has to do with ubuntu (umntu ngumntu ngabanye abantu) = 'a person is a person through another person', which I think is the centre of his life. It has become the centre of my life. It has become the centre of our theology here at All Saints Church. That word is too magnificent to be translated into 'community' or 'it takes another person to be a person'. It is just ethereal, supernal in what it means about a pernson's soul. A person understands that he or she needs the person in front of them to be who they are. It is totally synonymous and resonant with the theology of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. I grew up in the state of Georgia; Dr King was a son of Georgia. He  was very influential in my life; he said: 'In order for me to be who I am, you have to be who you are. And in order for you to be who you are, I have to be who I am'. It's that kind of mystical interconnectedness of all of us that ubuntu describes and that Arch Desmond Tutu embodies.

- The other touchstone that is so important to me, is that God needs us.
God needs our 'yes'. And our 'yes' is just as important as was Mary's 'yes'. That wonderful story of Gabriel coming to call on Mary and asking her to do this rather surprising and impossible and radical thing, and she says, "What?" and finally she says, "Yes". To hear him tell that story with all that giggly ebullience that is in the heart of Desmond Tutu is to transform you to say, "I, too, can be Mary. I, too, am Mary".
It reminds me of that very important place in Florence, Italy, at the convent of San Marco, where that great artist Fra Angelico painted all of those marvellous paintings on the walls  throughout that monastery. The most prominensst one is "The Annunciation". There is Gabriel coming to call on Mary. The great thing about that painting is it is set in the garden of that monastery. So those monks who would see it knew that the artist Fra Angelico was trying to say, "It is happening right here". They would go every night to their cells and the last painting they saw before they went into their cells was this one. The idea being that if God is gonna call on you tonight to say that you are pregnant with God's will, will you sau yes?

So ubuntu and our collaboration with God are just so central. (Ed Bacon, Tutu, The Authorised Portrait 2017).

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