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Justin Welby celebrates Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s life on special BBC Sunday Worship

by Kelly Valencia

Most Rev Justin Welby has honoured the life of late Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a special BBC Sunday Worship.

During his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that “however hard people may try, it is impossible to speak of Archbishop Tutu without speaking of Jesus Christ”.

“His life and witness only make sense when seen in the light of the love of God in Jesus Christ and the faith he had in the purposes and sure coming of the Kingdom,” Archbishop Justin said.

He said he believes there are many similarities between Archbishop Desmond and prophet Jeremiah.

“They are words which are usually ignored, opposed, and protested against. But these words must be spoken by the prophet because they are the words of God. Jeremiah was confronted with the presence of God calling him to things beyond his wildest imagination, to raise up and throw down nations and kingdoms by his words of prophecy.

“What authority did he have? Desmond Tutu was often asked that, labelled a meddlesome priest, accused of interfering in politics ceaselessly. He lived politics - not interfered - because he knew that the authority over all human life was that of God. He knew that a nation that forgets that authority forgets its soul, forgets to value one another, forgets to champion the oppressed.”

Archbishop Justin continued: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu consistently spoke when he saw those on the side he had supported falling short of the standards of integrity that God seeks. He stood up against corruption in his own and other countries. He stood up for the oppressed in every place and every time because he knew that God’s authority covered every aspect of world affairs.

“He also spoke prophetically to the church, calling us to include, to welcome, to struggle so that through justice, we in the church could call for justice.”

He concluded the sermon by urging everyone to respond to Archbishop Desmond’s life by being “passionate on the side of the oppressed,” “to speak and act in the authority of the one whose word is given to heal the world,” and to “cast away fear, see the authority of God, and act always on the side of the poorest and the oppressed.”

The special Sunday service was led by the Dean of St Mary's Cathedral, Johannesburg, Xolani Dlwati and also included worship from South African churches.


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