Sitting in our favourite ‘watering-hole’ looking out at the Mediterranean Sea whilst on holiday in Spain after Easter, life seemed calm and stress free. Then Ross announced, having seen the news pop up on one his social media apps, that the Prime Minister was going to call a snap election and suddenly the reality of life returned to us and the world seemed less calm and more stressful. My gut reaction was not positive. Weeks of listening to politicians haranguing one another and TV news being dominated by sound bites, empty promises and the latest photo opportunity for those seeking to win my vote did not fill me with much delight. Then Cameron pointed out his excitement in being able to vote in his first General Election and I remembered that previous generations had fought hard to ensure that I had a vote in the first place and that it is one of the most precious things I can possess in a parliamentary democracy. On 8th June I, along with millions of other people, become the most powerful people in the country.
Although there is always the feeling that convinces too many that their vote will count for nothing, so they stay at home, I am reminded of a story I have used before about how each one of us and each vote can make a difference.
A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a pitcher of water, which had once been full; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the pitcher he found that only very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it. He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair. Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that in too. Then he took another pebble and … well, you get the picture. At last, he saw the water rise up near him, and after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench his thirst and save his life.
The message is obvious. Little by little, vote by vote, we can change the world. Little by little, envelope by envelope collected during Christian Aid we can make a difference, change the world and offer the poorest (many of whom do not have the privilege and responsibility of going to the ballot box to vote) some hope for the future. Little by little, loving act by loving act, God’s will is done on earth and the reign of God comes closer.
You can make a difference.
With love and prayers
Russell J Furley-Smith