Desmond Tutu: 'And God Says to All of Us, You Are No Chicken; You Are an Eagle'

Desmond Tutu's inspiring graduation speech on radical forgiveness and becoming what God intends us to be.

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And so, we are aware that this is a moral universe, that good and evil matter, that right and wrong matter, that life and truth matter. And, that, yes, there are frequently many, many times when we think that evil is on the rampage, that evil seems to be going to have the last word. It doesn't; it's doesn't. Isn't that exhilarating? It isn't Hitler who has won; it is those he tried to destroy. They have survived and left the world an incredible legacy. It isn't Stalin who has won. Communism, fascism, Nazism have bitten the dust, have bitten the dust ignominiously. It isn't slavery that has won; slavery has been done away with and people are entering into what has been called the glorious liberty of the children of God. It isn't Apartheid that's won. No, no, no. It may take a long time, but goodness in the end is vindicated....

You know the story of the farmer who in his backyard had chickens, and [one] was a little odd-looking. It behaved like a chicken. It was pecking away like other chickens. It didn't know that there was a blue sky overhead and a glorious sunshine until someone who was knowledgeable in these things came along and said to the farmer, "Hey, that's no chicken. That's an eagle."

Then the farmer said, "Um, um, no, no, no, no man. That's a chicken; it behaves like a chicken." And the man said, "No; give it to me please." And he gave it to this knowledgeable man. And this man took this strange-looking chicken and climbed the mountain and waited until sunrise. And then he turned this strange-looking chicken towards the sun and said, "Eagle, fly, eagle." And the strange-looking chicken shook itself, spread out its pinions and lifted off and soared and soared and soared and flew away, away into the distance.

And God says to all of us, you are no chicken; you are an eagle. Fly, eagle, fly. And God wants us to shake ourselves, spread our pinions, and then lift off and soar and rise, and rise toward the confident and the good and the beautiful. Rise towards the compassionate and the gentle and the caring. Rise to become what God intends us to be--eagles, not chickens.


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Archbishop Desmond Tutu
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