How much change can an ice pick impose on a glacier? That’s how it feels most days for people working for justice. The problems feel massive and the tools insufficient. The work is daunting and the progress is slow.
But the seemingly insufficent tools can be used to make slow yet significant progress. People in previous generations used similar tools in their tireless work to chip away at pervasive discrimination and injustice. There were rigid policies that defined second class citizens and determined where they could eat, live, work, play, and worship. It all felt inevitable and they still marched, lobbied, organized, prayed published, and litigated. It was because of the tireless work in each generation that the glacier of injustice isn’t as large today.
Before their work, change seemed impossible. Over time the obstacles gave way to their patience and determination. The glacier still remains with its usual rigid, daunting and cold resistance. Its imperceptible pace persuades the workers of justice that progress is impossible. Yet this generation must continue the work of bending the arc toward justice.
Sharron Frontiero’s experienced the slow bend of justice as a woman who received less compensation than her male counterparts in the military. Her demand to receive equal treatment and equal pay was denied. Many people, including a lawyer named Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fought alongside Frontiero and finally convinced the Supreme Court to implement justice. This is one example of many long fought battles for justice. Frontiero responded, “we could have tried to change public opinion, but the law came in and changed reality”.
Reality has changed because of the courageous people committed to the long path toward justice. These are people with well used tools at their disposal and enlarged hearts filled with determination, faith, patience and hope. The tools often feel insufficient because the change is incremental. Remember that in time the ice pick shapes the glacier because of the burning heart that refuses to give up.
I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” -Luke 18:8