‘Prisoners of hope’

Posted on February 25, 2012 by Global Mission Support

The Rev. Philip Knutson is the ELCA Global Mission regional representative for Southern Africa. To support Philip, or another of the ELCA’s 230 missionaries, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.


The Rev. Philip Knutson

The Rev. Philip Knutson

Dear friends in Christ,

This year the African National Congress (ANC) is celebrating 100 years of existence as a liberation movement and recounting with great pride the history of the struggle to overcome colonialism and apartheid in South Africa. Much of this powerful story is captured in Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom.”

Reflecting on the ANC’s centenary year is a recent article in Time magazine, “How the ANC lost its way,” that is quite critical even pessimistic about the situation in South Africa  Referring to this article, someone asked me recently where signs of hope might be found.

All this reminded me of the bold statement by Anglican Archbishop-emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu: “I am not an optimist. I am a prisoner of hope.”

The recently published “Kairos Southern Africa” statement seeks to speak a prophetic and challenging word to the ANC and to South Africa at this time expressing gratitude for sacrifices made, concern over continuing injustices and grounds for hope. http://kairossouthernafrica.wordpress.com/

As I travel, meet and worship with companions throughout Southern Africa and meet brothers and sisters who teach and preach in rural and urban congregations and work to overcome HIV and AIIDS, poverty and malaria I continue to learn how, by God’s grace, we are called, gathered and sent to walk together as “prisoners of hope.”

As we move through Lent to Good Friday and Easter we are reminded of the 40-year sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness and also of the disciples’ journey with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem, Golgotha and beyond. There were times of doubt and hopelessness but also, when all seemed lost, unexpected signs of hope and new life.

Thank you for your prayers, continuing support through the ELCA Missionary Sponsorship program and for your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.

Yours faithfully,
Philip Knutson
Capetown, South Africa
February 2012