Listen to: "That's What Friends Are For," sung by Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. This recording of the song was done as a benefit for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and pop music history was made. The single spent 4 weeks at #1 and earned 2 Grammy Awards.
An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits.
When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.
When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ''UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?''
'UBUNTU' in the Xhosa culture means: "I am because we are".
We cannot be reminded often enough of how much we need each other. Our lives are interdependent. We live under the false illusion that we can take and take and take, and the impact on others and the environment doesn't matter. As Christians we are taught that Jesus has befriended us, we are one body, and need each other to function well spiritually. We share the joys together, and the sorrows. We learn patience, compassion, kindness, forgiveness and mercy by living out our lives together.
This month in Charlottesville we saw the fabric of community being torn by racism and hate speech. Yet there were those who joined hands and marched in solidarity on behalf of the vulnerable and rejected because of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Ubuntu: "I am because we are."
Right now our country is united in its outpouring of care to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Ubuntu: "I am because we are."
As God refines in us a vision of life and service together in his name, let us remember UBUNTU. Jesus lives -- so I am because we are.
Finally, remember this story? JACKIE ROBINSON was the first African American to play baseball in the major leagues. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced hostile crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to jeer him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the crowd booed. Then, without saying a word, shortstop Pee Wee Reese went over and stood next to Jackie. He put his arm around him and faced the crowd. Suddenly the fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that that arm around his shoulder saved his career.
That's a friend. That's how we should be. UBUNTU.
PRAY: "God, give us the courage to be a true friend - who stands with someone in need, and considers the needs of others"