‘The prophet said, ‘Do Justice!’
And I cried, ‘Which Justice?’
I want to do justice to the prophet’s words.
I want to do justice to justice.
Where shall I begin?’
From Doing Justice by Stephen Cherry (Barefoot Prayers: A Meditation a Day for Lent and Easter).
‘Daily I am assailed by news;
daily I struggle to absorb it, to drink
the cup of other people’s suffering.
Teach me how to hear the news;
show me how to respond.’
From On Hearing the News by Stephen Cherry (Barefoot Prayers: A Meditation a Day for Lent and Easter).
Often, when I watch or read the news I just don’t know how to respond to all the bad stuff that happens in the world – climate change, terrorism, floods, earthquakes, famine, disease, rape, murder, sexism, racism … There is so much unkindness, intolerance and injustice. How is anyone supposed to know how to start fighting it all? It’s overwhelming.
But then I remember the story of The Boy and the Starfish and it all seems a bit more doable. It’s one of those parables it’s hard to forget …
One morning, a man was walking along a beach when he came across a little boy standing at the water’s edge, picking things up and throwing them in the water. As he neared the boy, the man saw that he was surrounded by thousands upon thousands of starfish. They had been washed up onto the beach by the previous night’s storm.
‘What are you doing?’ asked the man.
‘I am throwing starfish back in the sea,’ replied the boy. ‘If they don’t go back in the water, they’ll die.’
‘But there are so many of them,’ said the man. ‘You can’t possible hope to make a difference.’
The boy bent down, picked up a starfish, threw it back in the ocean and said, ‘I made a difference to that one.’