Good morning. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” said the famous peace-maker Mahatma Gandhi who was tragically assassinated on his way to prayer on this day in 1948
Gandhi’s philosophy of peaceful resistance led him to be an extraordinary witness to the power of non-violent action in the cause of justice and reconciliation. And part of his enduring appeal is that his words and actions relate to people of many religions and philosophies.
Gandhi had himself experienced the pain of being marginalised both in the UK as a foreign student, and in South Africa where he developed his professional skill as a lawyer. His personal experience of others, who tried to exclude him, inspired him to be active in overcoming oppression. Rather than becoming angry or bitter instead he took an interest in the theory of non-violent protest, and put this into practice in his own life preventing prejudice or discrimination from having the last word.
His selfless concern for the welfare of others is perhaps what made him such a heroic figure. He was prepared to suffer in the cause of justice, being imprisoned, going on hunger-strike and getting in harm’s way.
Almost 70 years after his death, Mahatma Gandhi’s extraordinary belief in a compassion that transcends borders has been validated by his continuing renown as an inspirational icon for peace-making across the world.
God of many names, friend of all, help us to live life to the full today and make us ready to learn in every situation we encounter. In the face of frustration or difficulty help us to be patient and gentle. Keep us from bitterness and help us to see difference with your generous eyes of love. Amen.