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Center for Action and Contemplation

Hope, Peace, and Justice

Monday, October 9, 2023

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1931–2021) envisions God’s dream for the world through a message of hope, justice, peace, and inclusion:

Dear Child of God, before we can become God’s partners, we must know what God wants for us. “I have a dream,” God says. “Please help Me to realize it. It is a dream of a world whose ugliness and squalor and poverty, its war and hostility, its greed and harsh competitiveness, its alienation and disharmony are changed into their glorious counterparts, when there will be more laughter, joy, and peace, where there will be justice and goodness and compassion and love and caring and sharing. I have a dream that swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, that My children will know that they are members of one family, the human family, God’s family, My family.”

In God’s family, there are no outsiders. All are insiders. Black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, Jew and Arab, Palestinian and Israeli, Roman Catholic and Protestant, Serb and Albanian, Hutu and Tutsi, Muslim and Christian, Buddhist and Hindu, Pakistani and Indian—all belong.…

We have heard of God’s dream from His prophets throughout history and in modern times from great leaders and humanitarians like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. King spoke of it … when he dreamed of the day that the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners in Georgia would be able “to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” [1] Gandhi wrote about it in 1929 when he stated that his goal was not just the brotherhood of Indian humanity but “the mission of brotherhood of man.” [2] (Today they would have referred to daughters and sisterhood, too.) The visions and triumphs of these prophets of God helped change their nations and inspire the rest of us around the world in our own struggles for equality.

Tutu finds God’s dream for an inclusive community embodied in Jesus:

We can look at the life of Jesus to see what God asks of us. Jesus came into a deeply divided and polarized society. There was the divide between the hated foreign oppressor and the citizens of the vassal state. Within Judaism there were different religious groupings, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots. There was the divide between the Jew, the Gentile, and the Samaritan. And then men were segregated from women. There were free persons and there were slaves. There were the rich; there were the poor. The world saw a veritable miracle unfolding before its very eyes as all sorts and conditions of women and men, rich and poor, slave and free, Jew and Gentile—all these came to belong in one fellowship, one communion. They did not regard one another just as equals. That in itself would have been a huge miracle…. No, they regarded one another not just as equals but as sisters and brothers, members of one family, God’s family.


[1] Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream,” in A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. James Melvin Washington (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1986), 219.

[2] M. K. Gandhi, “My Conception of Patriotism,” Young India 11, no. 14 (April 4, 1929): 107.

Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams, God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time (New York: Image Books/Doubleday, 2005), 19–22.

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Alma Thomas, White Daisies Rhapsody (detail), 1973, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian. Alma Thomas, Snoopy—Early Sun Display on Earth (detail), 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian. Alma Thomas, Snow Reflection on Pond (detail), 1973, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian. Click here to enlarge image.

A rainbow hope, curved and welcoming, bends toward the horizon.

Story from Our Community:  

Reading the Daily Meditations has broadened my spiritual practices beyond the dualistic thinking that I was stuck in before. This new both/and frame of mind fills me with a profound peace that has made my job as a public elementary school teacher just a little bit easier. The 2023 theme of the Prophetic Path in particular has offered me the courage to take the bold step of applying to get a Master of Divinity at Loyola University Chicago…. What touches my heart most of all, though, are the stories from other readers. I hope that everyone who has contributed their story feels the deep love and prayers from all of us strangers as we receive their experiences. When someone shares something that reflects my own experience, I feel the thread of unity between me, them, and our Living God.… As I share my own story, I am sending love to all of you reading my words today. —Loralie C.

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