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I’m Only One Person: Week 5 | Day 4

Br. James Koester confesses that to him the fourth Mark of Love is the most daunting. “I’m only one person,” he exclaims. He encourages us to start small, start here, and start now.

Question: What’s the one small thing you can do today to transform unjust structures, to pursue peace and reconciliation, and to challenge violence of every kind?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: Icons of Hope


Transcript: Of all the Marks of Mission, I think I find the fourth Mark of Mission to be the most daunting: “To transform unjust structures, to challenge violence of every kind, and to pursue peace and reconciliation.”  That’s a really tall order.  And I often think, “What on earth can I do?  I am only one person.”

Somebody once told us a number of years ago – when we were thinking about our own sense of mission and ministry – her advice to us was, “Start small, start here, and start now.”  Yes, this particular Mark of Mission can be incredibly daunting, and so we could kind of throw up our hands and decide, “I can’t do anything.”  And yet there is something small that we can all do.

One of my favorite quotations come from Edward Everett Hale, who once said, “I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything but still I can do something.  And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

Yes, this Mark of Mission is really daunting, but there is something small that all of us can do.  What’s the one small thing you can do today to begin to transform unjust structures, pursue peace and reconciliation, and to challenge violence of every kind?

– Br. James Koester

Question: What’s the one small thing you can do today to transform unjust structures, to pursue peace and reconciliation, and to challenge violence of every kind?

Week 5 Activity: Icons of Hope
Icons are images that open us up. They act as windows that let the light of God shine in. This week’s activity invites you to compose your own “icon” for the Kingdom of God. Draw or paste in pictures that help you recall God’s vision, to create a collage that lets God’s light shine in.

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity

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17 Comments

  1. Annette Bates on April 5, 2017 at 13:34

    Talk to someone who doesn’t believe as I do politically or religiously. Listen to their values and reasons and share my own.

  2. Diane Hexter on April 1, 2017 at 19:14

    Thank you for this inspiration. Recently, I read an article about my community building a play ground for children. It will incorporate equipment for handicapped children, integrating it into the equipment for all children. This kind of playground is the only one in this area.
    I have a friend who has 2 handicapped children and she has experienced this kind of a playground and reports that her children love it and feel fully included with the other children.
    Instead of writing a letter to the city or sending a personal donation, I took this to my co worker’s. We are a group of 90 Realtors who work in this community. I asked them to sign a letter and give a donation to the city.
    It seems that this would be an easy thing for a Realtor to do. It was not. Approaching anyone and asking for money in this fashion is just very intimidating to me. These are my piers and most of them are acquaintances.
    This announcement was graciously received and many of them are willing to donate and sign the letter to the city complimenting them on helping to create a community in which we want to live and work.
    It seems like a small act. It was a difficult small act for me to do. Your words gave me the courage to act. Thank you.

  3. Bryan Cook on March 30, 2017 at 22:33

    I took the time to talk this over with my partner. We are both retired and over the years have done much in pursuit of these missions. We both had to set aside our amibitions and sacrifice financially to succeed in these missions. Now we feel that we are only able to do small things. We decided to send a bag of food to the foodbank each time we do a grocery shop . We will strive to make as small a negative footprint as possible on the environment in which we live….reuse, repurpose, recover, recycle, grow vegetables organically…. and be forever loving to ourselves, eachother and those around us. We pray that God will put the opportunities before us to which we are suited.

  4. Jean on March 30, 2017 at 10:07

    Thank for this reflection. Of all the marks of love I find this the most daunting. I feel inadequate and overwhelmed. I am not by nature an activist. I do not always speak up when I should. I do not now, in old age and retirement, have a lot of energy. This reminder that it is not always in the big things that we are called. That just quietly keeping my eyes open and walking with God I can fulfill what I am being called to do. I will ask God each day to show me what I need to do
    I was reminded of the story of the young man on a beach. It was littered with stranded starfish. He was throwing them back in the sea one at a time. Someone challenged him that he could not save them all. He picked up a starfish and threw it and said “No but I saved that one”

  5. salley stott on March 29, 2017 at 20:48

    Today I signed 4 petitions opposing unjust legislation.

  6. Stan on March 29, 2017 at 19:56

    I’m with Susan. If I find myself in a stressful or frustrating situation with other people involved, then defuse the time bomb of fear, frustration, or impatience within myself, then respond thoughtfully, patiently, respectfully, and with love, optimistically seeking alternatives or solutions, then I may be able to help defuse the time various bombs within some of the other folks who found themselves in that same situation. Sometimes levelheadedness can put out fires.

  7. Verlinda on March 29, 2017 at 14:37

    Share joy with a smile; be present for others.

  8. Kathy Brock on March 29, 2017 at 14:25

    I teach public school, and I make sure my students know that my classroom is a haven – that I will not tolerate unkindness, argument, bullying, etc. from anyone in it, and so they are safe here. And I do my best to address those things when they do surface, to challenge all the students present to re-think the whole concept of what they think is acceptable treatment of others – or themselves.

  9. Jesse on March 29, 2017 at 11:44

    I can meet with organizers to plan how to achieve permanent protection, dignity, and respect for the undocumented community in America.

  10. Bea on March 29, 2017 at 10:40

    Smile at others during your day. Most of the time they will smile back. If they do not, pray for them.

  11. David Cranmer on March 29, 2017 at 09:45

    Today, I intend to call Speaker Ryan about two or three matters that Congress is handling. Yesterday I attempted to email his office in Washington only to discover that if a person is not from his district, then there are too many barriers to sending him an email. I hope that I can overcome any phone barriers.

  12. Wendy on March 29, 2017 at 07:49

    I bring it to prayer. I start with self-examination and pray for God to show me how to hear and see anew, and how to support others in doing the same, that we all may be one.

  13. Rhode on March 29, 2017 at 07:34

    every morning, pray first; ask God to open our eyes and hearts, move our feet and bless our hands to address with love and courage anything that comes our way.

  14. Susan on March 29, 2017 at 07:18

    After spending all of yesterday waiting in the airport for two flights to depart only to see them both canceled after hours of delays, I saw a lot of anger and frustration. The anger toward airport personnel is a form of violence and I refused to be part of it. Eventually when seeing my face after a few encounters without anger after long delays or cancellations, the person behind the counter would visibly relax as we went through the explanations and/or re-booking. I’m headed back this morning and my re-booked flight is already delayed. They will get the same treatment from me today as they did yesterday: a smile, kind words, and patience. I will not add to this kind of violence.

    • David on March 29, 2017 at 12:13

      And there it is! Christlikeness! Thank you, Susan!

  15. Nancy on March 29, 2017 at 06:51

    Stand up

  16. Leslie on March 29, 2017 at 04:45

    Friends, consider adult literacy tutoring.

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