Our voice is stronger together. Not just louder – stronger.
Louder is not enough. There is already enough noise. There is already a constant buzz as the story most often told by the world gets retold and repeated and replayed – a story marked by prejudice, fear, injustice, inequality.
As a movement of Australian Christians, we come together under the banner of 'Micah' to be part of shaping of a different story - a story characterised by hope, justice, humanity and creation flourishing in God’s good world.
It’s not a new story – it’s the story that began at the beginning.
We each come with our own stories ready to contribute to our common one. In doing this, we don’t lose our own story, in fact we deepen it and enrich it by adding it to another. The difference in our stories – in those things that have shaped us, the personal realities of our life situation, the variance in reasons why we are part of Micah – are a part of our strength.
Micah advocates shared their personal stories at Voices for Justice 2015
Stories are incredibly important – they aren’t just a way we communicate, but are about our identity. Telling our story and telling the stories of others, denotes dignity, value and worth. In fact hearing the stories that others share, really hearing, does the same thing; it denotes dignity, value and worth. It’s significant to be heard and it’s empowering to speak.
It’s significant to be heard and it’s empowering to speak.
In 2016, we will continue to share our common story and grow our common story as we connect with one another and engage in common experience. Sharing our personal stories is a core part of this and we will continue to do this at our Voices for Justice events and through our blog as the year goes on.
As much as we hope our nation’s leaders hear us as we cry out for justice, we also need to remember to hear one another and to hear what God would have us learn through this time. As we listen, we can be sure that we are also heard by God – one who knows each of our stories as well as the stories of those in places we may never visit.
Consider King David from the Old Testament, who was certain that God knew him intimately from even before his birth. He was certain that God heard him in his times of triumph and his times of victory. This 'being known' and 'being heard' caused David to praise God as well as to cry out to him.
Jesus knew the story of Zacchaeus long before he went to his house for tea and he also knew the story of the woman at the well before she spoke with him. Both their lives were turned upside down by these encounters with Jesus because they were known and their stories were heard. They in turn became storytellers themselves as a result, and in the same way we too become storytellers as we share our personal story and our common story with others.
In my own story I see markers – significant things that have contributed to shaping my desire to chase after justice and hope and peace, to seek it out and hold it near. I see people who shared their story with me – campaigners, mentors, refugees.
I’ve had the great opportunity to travel to some wonderful places in the world and hear some incredible stories. Some of these have been incredibly hopeful and some have told of, and led to, incredible grief. I’ve listened as people have shared their stories of hunger, of exploitation and trafficking, and of fear. I’ve listened as people have shared their stories around family and pride and hope. Listening to these stories told by the people who lived them, has shaped me, and shaped my story.
Together we share a story. And together our voice and our common story is stronger. I encourage you to take some time to think about your own story. What is your story and how does it fit into the grand story we all share?
The following reflection questions might help:
- When did you first become aware of the issue of injustice?
- Was there an event that triggered your involvement?
- Was there one person that inspired you to start acting?
- What was the first action you took?
- When did you start thinking you could make a difference?
- What are your values or faith? How does acting on this issue link with them?
- How has your response changed over the years?
Let's reflect on our stories and confidently share them with one another knowing that they are powerful for both the speaker and the listener.
Let's also consider how our individual stories fit in with our common story knowing that our voices when added together are not only louder, but stronger.
Pip Berglund is the Voices for Justice Coordinator at Micah Australia.