While searching on the WWW for the origin of a particular quote, I serendipitously came across this one:
‘To inspire the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.’
– Starbucks Motto
Whatever our response to the Starbucks brand and their coffee, I readily admit that I find their motto quite thought provoking. In a very real way we experienced the essence of this motto at our Youth Service last Sunday. It truly was an inspirational service for all who attended; it warmed our hearts, challenged and inspired our spirits, to have dreams to become a more just society. I offer here a special thanks to ARK@S (Youth Team) for all their effort, creativity and passion they put into creating that service.
During the service we heard excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr, ‘I have a dream speech,’ (August 28 1963) then we were invited to have our table conversations on the question:
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS FOR A MORE JUST SOCIETY?
This provided the stimuli for thought – provoking conversations around our tables. I collated the responses as follows:
- Equality for all children to grow in a safe environment, good health and ‘wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.’
- For all children to enjoy responsible and loving family support.
- That every child that is born is treated with the love and care that they deserve.
- Effective child protection and the elimination of child abuse and violence towards children, along with the elimination of child poverty
Respect of Differences:
- The respect and tolerance of differences
- That people may not be judged for their colour or race or abused because of their belief
- The elimination of racist attitudes
- Everyone will be treated with the same respect because we deserve it
- No more conflict
Elimination of poverty:
- If we increase our support of NZ entrepreneurs and increase our export and volume, more money will come into NZ and this means more money can be spent on people in poverty
- Decrease society’s attitude towards spending $ for pleasure
- Reduce greed.
- More equal distribution of income
- Sharing of knowledge
- Close the gap between rich and poor.
Role of Government:
- Government to listen to what the people say
- We often talk about situations needing change from the grass roots at the bottom, BUT, something’s need to change at the TOP
- We would have more of a just society if lower wages were raised to a living wage for the people who are the bottom of the heap.
- Peace in the world and in our own lives’
- A more peaceful society, especially in areas of war.
- Tolerance, meritocracy, fairness and harmony
- Peace, justice and the pursuit of happiness.
- World peace
Everyday Living – Justice in practice
- More listening to the ideas, perspectives and histories of others
- We must need to bring balance into our communication and correspond with people both with words and deeds and not just by text
- That no matter where you walk, you can feel like you’re at home, with acceptance and belonging.
- A more caring society, who respect others
- For people to look past their differences, and feel wanted, loved and at home with the rest of the world.
Reading through the list above, we can hear some of the hopes and dreams expressed by our Community at the table conversations last Sunday. I have resisted the temptation to prioritise them; rather I have loosely placed them in groupings. I recall reading somewhere, that when it comes to justice and the gospel we need to look no further than the teaching of Jesus, ‘to love our neighbour as yourself.’ (Mark 12:31)
Meaning, within the biblical sense, to love is not just those of our near and dearest, rather it includes an aspect of justice as well – a concern for holistic welfare of all humanity. We often forget this when we look at the issues facing our nation, that ultimately in the words of the master teacher Jesus love in its many facets is the answer. We can only change the world, our nation, our communities, as we individually are inspired to first change ourselves to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.
Some quotes from Martin Luther King Jr to challenge and inspire us:
- ‘True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice”
- “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
- “Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”
- “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
- “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
- “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
- “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
- “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
- “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”
- “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
- “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
- “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
- . “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
- “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Reading and reflecting on these quotes from Martin Luther King Jr, I am inspired and reminded, that for love and justice to be present in our world, our nation and our communities it must begin within the human heart, mine and yours.
May the soil of our hearts be receptive to the seeds of love and justice sown by the Spirit, ready to sprout, to bring forth a more just and loving society.
A more just and loving society begins with me,
one step at a time
– Alf’s motto of the month