Friday night saw the fulfillment of a dream of mine. I—along with thousands of others, including members of Covenant—had the opportunity to see and hear Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. He was at JMU to receive the Mahatma Gandhi Global Nonviolence Award.
I was expecting powerful words (and they were there). I was expecting kindness and humility (and they were there). But a delightful sense of humor and good comic timing? Who knew Desmond Tutu was just darn funny?!? What a blessed surprise.
Another blessing was his message, one he has been all around this world proclaiming. “Goodness is stronger than evil, love stronger than hate.” Someone from Covenant said to me “the most profound messages are always the simplest.” How true. We know that goodness is stronger than evil—it’s what we say every time we confess Jesus Christ Lord and Savior, the one who died and was resurrected. But sometimes we need to be reminded of that, need to be renewed in our faith and hope.
Perhaps the statement that will be running around in my head for the longest is one His Grace said to all of us, but to young people in particular. To young people, to those who aren’t afraid to dare and do, to those who enact change, he said “Dream your dreams; they are God’s dreams.” What a wonderful message for all of us—young and not-so-young alike. We can get caught up in the reasons why something will never be—why there will never be peace in the Middle East, why poverty will never be eradicated, why diseases will continue to ravage the world. We can forget that indeed goodness is stronger than evil, that with God all things are possible. This isn’t just some fairy tale – this is God’s dream, God’s promise.
As the Archbishop reminded us, many people swore South Africa would go up in flames after apartheid ended—there was just too much hate, too much resentment, too much gone by for anything but violence. But it didn’t. Desmond Tutu and people like him dreamed a dream of reconciliation—they dreamed God’s dream—and saw that dream come to life.
I had one dream of mine fulfilled this Friday when I saw Desmond Tutu speak. I’m going to see if I can’t dream a little bit bigger and help that dream come true too. And maybe we can dream a little (or not so little) dream together.