“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” — Micah 6:8
All prophets claim authority.
Most prophets are full of courage.
Micah balances authority and courage with a sense of justice,
calling into awareness situations of oppression, unfairness and persecution.
The “Micah mandate” echos in the heart through the ages.
Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly.
Janusz Korczak lived the Micah mandate.
This is his pen name.
He was born in Poland, and into a Jewish family.
He was a paediatrician, an author, and an educator.
He formulated rights for children living in an adult world
and put them in practice in the Orphanage where he worked.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child,
adopted by the United Nations in 1989,
drew upon his work.
Korczak was full of courage.
On this day, August 5, 1942
despite several opportunities for him to escape to safety
Korczak, the staff of the orphanage, and 200 children
boarded a train to Treblinka —
All went to death in the gas chambers.
Here is a poem attributed to Janusz Korczak.
It holds the challenge of the Micah mandate for all of us,
reminding us that justice is lived out in the ordinary and the daily.
It’s called, “You Live.”
How many fields did you plow,
How many loaves of bread did you bake,
How much seed did you sow,
How many trees did you plant,
How many bricks did you lay,
How many buttons did you sew,
How many patches, how many seams did you make,
To whom did you give your warmth
who would have stumbled but for your support,
Whom did you show the way
without demanding gratitude or prize,
What was your offering,
Whom did you serve?