journeying towards justice "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Amos 5:24 NSRV

"I thought you'd lead me beside the still waters.

I wasn't expecting a river."

Expecting a River, by Pamela Liew, 2019

That's just the point, isn't it? We're never expecting a river to pluck us from our comfort zones, sweeping us along and tumbling us in wild currents of change and discovery.

The journey toward justice is a hero's journey. But in this story, instead of waiting for Superman to swoop down and rescue us, WE are the reluctant heroes.

Do you hear that call niggling at your heart and mind? Do you want to hide under the covers? Are you willing to be swept into God's wild current?

Photo by Karen Brockney. Superman in Metropolis, Il. These words appear on the base: Truth, Justice and The American Way.

Leaving Home

"God of the river, God of us all,

You taught the waters to juggle with sunshine,

Unsettling the static with motion,

To master the beauty of fearlessly falling,

Winding their way to your ocean."

Expecting a River, by Pamela Liew, 2019

ACT 1 of the hero's journey is leaving home. Leaving the comfort of established patterns of thinking, embracing new ideas, being willing to open up to changes in thoughts and behaviors.

Sometimes it takes a nudge from outside to get us moving... and mentors to guide our steps.

Photo by Barbara Ward.

Journeying toward Justice through Theological Reflection and Education.

Photo by Thomas Ward.

Look Back and Look Around at Today's World and ask "When was my Radicalizing Moment?"

News articles by Thomas Ward.
Photo by Richard Whitten. Roxbury street art, Mike Womble.

“You can’t legislate good will - that comes through education." Malcolm X

Photo by Barbara Ward.

Journeying toward Justice through the Work of Women; The Mall in Central Park, New York City.

Photo by Richard Whitten.

Moses 1857 (Harriet Tubman statue, Boston).

Photo by Richard Whitten.

The El Sistema program, founded by José Antonio Abreu, trained millions of disadvantaged youth in Venezuela, many of which became distinguished musicians around the world (including Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic).

The quest

"God of the river, God of us all,

You’ve seen the ways we’ve exploited the waters,

Suffering from short-sighted choices,

Drowning the future to live in the moment,

Favoring self-serving voices."

Expecting a River, by Pamela Liew, 2019

In the hero's journey, ACT 2 is The Quest.

The quest for justice and truth can take us into our past and show us our present in greater clarity.

But it's not always a straight path - there are unexpected twists and turns. It's not without painful challenges and setbacks.

Along the way, we may gain allies and face enemies.

Freedom Trail, Boston. Photo by Karen Brockney.

Looking Back

Photo by Richard Whitten.

“ Fire!, For God’s Sake, Fire! (Maj John Buttrick) - The old north bridge at Concord, where we turned back the British, April, 1775.

Photo by Thomas Grisso.

New York newspaper announces Lincoln's assassination: April 15, 1865.

Photo by Richard Whitten.

Because he had "black blood”, Douglas Smith only played one game for the Red Sox (Street art in Millers Falls, MA).

Photo by Richard Whitten.

Tempelhof Airfield, where 2.3 mil tons of supplies were flown in to supply west Berlin against the Russian blockade (1948).

Photo by Richard Whitten.

Picasso’s Guernica - The horror of Fascist War.

Looking AHEAD

"God of the river, God of us all,

You sent your prophets to call for a river,

Rolling with justice for all,

In all generations you’ve summoned that river

Preferring the weak and the small."

Expecting a River, by Pamela Liew, 2019

Photo by Erwin "Dusty" Miller.
Photo by Erwin "Dusty" Miller.

I took these photos as we marched into Montgomery, AL in March 1965.


Perhaps the most meaningful of these are the two showing 3 youth walking between federal troops as they enter a white neighborhood,


Photos by Erwin "Dusty" Miller.

Click the photos above to view them full size.

Photo by Karen Brockney.

"Women's Rights Are Human Rights" - The Women's March in Boston, January 2017.

Photos by Pamela Liew (left) and Thomas Grisso (right).

Peaceful protests lead to change. (Left photo).

Protest march for fair working conditions: Madrid 2012. Young people in Madrid protesting poverty and government corruption in 2012. A young man under a streetlight watches cautiously, possibly for police. Later that night the protest turned violent when police intervened. (Right photo).

Photo by Karen Brockney.

Our environment is calling out for justice and repair as we fill our world with trash.

Photo by Pamela Liew.

I dream of a world with clean water for all.

Returning Home

"God of the river, God of us all,

You taught the river to rise with the storms,

The currents to rage and to roar,

Breaching the banks and exceeding the boundaries,

To make ways that weren’t there before."

Expecting a River, by Pamela Liew, 2019

Heroes can't stay on their quests indefinitely. They've got to go back home at some point.

They have struggled, learned valuable lessons and won prizes of wisdom, strength, courage, and truth to bring back to their beloved communities.

In the hero's journey, ACT 3 is The Homecoming.

How have we struggled?

What have we learned?

What gifts can we bring to our community?

How can we rise with the storms, exceed our boundaries, and make ways that weren't there before?

Photo by Karen Brockney. The Labyrinth at Armenian Heritage Park in Boston celebrates life's journey. A single path leading to the center, the same path leading out.

Photo by Karen Brockney. The Sentinel, newspaper office in Centralia, Illinois.

"Here shall the press the people's rights maintain, unawed by influence, unbribed by gain." Truth is the sentinel of justice.

Photo by Karen Brockney. Welcome at Arlington Church in Boston.

Open doors, welcoming hearts.

Photo by Karen Brockney.
Photos by Karen Brockney.

McDonough Courthouse, Macomb, Illinois. The courthouse is situated in the town square at the heart of the community. (Top photo).

Green County Courthouse, Carrollton, IL. We pursue justice in courtrooms throughout our nation. (Bottom photos).

Photo by Thomas Grisso.

Street mural in Granada, Spain: "There is no justice without equality." It may express what is necessary for race equity or gender equity.

Photo by Richard Whitten. Sculpture at the University of North Carolina features a stone tabletop six feet in diameter that is held up by 300 bronze figurines.

The inscription on this sculpture, at the University of North Carolina, reads: “The Class Of 2002 Honors The University's Unsung Founders – The People Of Color -Bond And Free – Who Helped Build The Carolina That We Cherish Today “. It was defaced by white supremacists in March 2018.

Photo by Richard Whitten.

"Let your light so shine” ( Dome of the Reichstag symbolizes enlightenment prevailing over fascism.)

Photo by Karen Brockney.

Street art near Worcester City Hall reminds us that we can make this life free and beautiful.

Photo by Karen Brockney.
Photo by Karen Brockney.

Love is only inclusive.

Photo by Betsy Lambert.

My hope and prayer is that the systems that have perpetuated injustice and inequity will all be dismantled, and that the movement toward a more just society will continue.

The rusting barrier in this picture is slowly decaying; when it falls, all can equally acces the abundant life, color and beauty beyond.

"God of the river, God of us all,

I thought you’d lead me beside the still waters.

I wasn’t expecting a river."

Photo by Karen Brockney.

Photos in this show by Karen Brockney, Thomas Grisso, Betsy Lambert, Pamela Liew, Erwin "Dusty" Miller, Barbara Ward, Thomas Ward, and Richard Whitten.

June 2021

Created By
Karen Brockney


Photos by members of the First Baptist Church, Worcester, MA.