Monday, September 08, 2014

Judge And Jury

I teach the Gospels for an entire year to high school kids and we try to cover a number of Jesus' parables in depth. The last one, the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, is discussed below in an entry from August 2, 2007. It doesn't have a happy ending for everyone.

I was summoned for jury duty today. Because of the timing, I was required to miss several hours of inservice meetings, not the worst of all fates. The jurisdiction in question was a Harris County justice of the peace court. The jury pool gathered in the lobby outside the courtroom. We were a mixed group, ethnically and in gender. I knew no one. Only two men wore ties; the other gentleman stood to my right as we waited. Ten minutes past noon, we were beckoned inside and the judge, a personable jurist named Burney, gave us directions as we sat in the church-style pews. She explained that there was only one case left for the day and most of our services would not be needed. After fifteen minutes of reviewing our summons papers, Judge Burney read a list of the twenty who had been selected, apparently in a random fashion, for the final cut. My name was not called. We were dismissed with the judge's gratitude. I'm looking forward to cashing my six dollar check for performing my civic duty. I was worth every penny.

In the Parable Of The Sheep And Goats, Jesus relates the method of separation at the last day: the sheep go the right and the goats move to the left. As we were herded into the courtroom this afternoon, the potential jurors were guided to fill the seats on the right side. The sixty or so of us did. As the judge was informing us of the procedures applying to this particular court, I noticed a man on the front row of the left side, all by himself. As she went though her remarks, the judge referred to him as the defendant. He looked very alone....and he was. The people deciding his fate, five dozen strangers, were only separated by an aisle a few feet wide. But those two yards might as well have been, as described in the afterlife scene of the Parable Of Lazarus And The Rich Man, a great chasm. I don't know what he was accused of but I do know that he stood accused. I would hate for my fate to be decided by people who didn't know me and didn't care that they didn't know me. One day, we will all be judged. My salvation will be that my judge loves me, created me, and gave his Son for me. The verdict won't be randomly based on the biases and wisdom of other sinners. It will be pronounced by the one called Our Father. I can live with that.

Applicable quote of the day:
"A jury is a group of twelve people of average ignorance."
Herbert Spencer

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about the sheeps and goats alot lately.