Acts of forgiveness and reconciliation, such as that shown by Nelson Mandela after his long struggle against injustice and racism, show what it means to be made in the image of God, the Archbishop of Wales says in his Christmas message.
God forgives and reconciles us, setting us free to love as we are loved, continues Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, who is preaching at Llandaff Cathedral on Christmas Day.
Continues the leader of the Church in Wales (Anglican): “A couple of weeks ago, Nelson Mandela died and people all over the world have paid tribute to him because after 27 years in prison, years of being demeaned and degraded, he refused to hate those who had imprisoned him, and sought reconciliation with the Government responsible for it.
"When the rest of the world thought that South Africa would have a civil war between its white and black citizens, he was determined that a new South Africa should be forged, valuing both black and white people equally. For that to happen, he put aside whatever grievances he may have had, and gave himself totally to the things that make for peace.
"In fact, prison, far from hardening him, enabled him to see his fellow human beings in a new way as people made in the image of God, and needing as much liberation from apartheid, as black people. Here is a man who went to visit his prison guard when that guard’s son died in tragic circumstances, and also went to see the Judge who had sent him to prison for life with hard labour.
“We admire all those qualities, and think that Mandela has got into the heart of what it is to be human in terms of qualities of forgiveness and reconciliation. Why then do we find it so hard to believe that God is a God like that and that it is because we are made in [God's] image, that we are capable of acts of forgiveness and reconciliation ourselves?"
It is the presence of God in Christ that both reveals and secures the realisation of this truth, says the Archbishop in his message.
* Christmas on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/christmas