Sunday, February 11, 2007

One Starfish at a Time*

So this morning's sermon was about Darfur. It's not an easy subject to understand -- so many warring factions, so many dead and displaced, no solutions in sight. And we face so many problems in our own country, in our own communities. When faced with the overwhelming complexity and enormity of genocide halfway around the world, it is natural to feel powerless to affect any change.

But, as the minister said this morning, each of us holds a power within us. And if we do not choose to use our power, it disappears when we die. Individually, we cannot change the world. But whenever we act for good, we ensure that our power will have an impact long after we are gone.

So go learn. And sign the petition. And send some money if you can. What better legacy can you leave?

*The title refers to the story of the boy and the beach full of hundreds of starfish that had been washed up on the sand. He slowly made his way down the beach, throwing one starfish at a time back into the ocean. An old man wandered by and said to him "Look at all these starfish. Your arm is going to get tired. What difference is throwing back of few of them going to make?" The boy picked one up, threw it into the ocean and said "It made a difference to that one."

A Vision

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
To stand like slow-growing trees
On a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
If we will make our seasons welcome here,
Asking not too much of earth or heaven,
Then a long time after we are dead
The lives our lives prepare will live here,
their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides, fields and gardens
rich in the windows. The river will run
clear, as we will never know it,
and over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
The old forest, an old forest will stand,
Its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music
risen out of the ground. They will take
nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting. Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.

Wendell Berry


Post a Comment

<< Home