I have been spending most of this week on jury duty. I was in two jury pools so far but was selected for neither trial. That did not surprise me. I believe that when the attorneys see a United Methodist pastor, the prosecutors think that I will forgive everyone and the defense attorneys believe I will condemn everyone, so both reject me. But the reality is that the attorneys really don’t know anything about the possible jurors. They believe the generalities of the various demographic groups to which we belong and basis their decisions on group characteristics rather than the individuals making up that pool.
In my time in service to the county I quickly realized how distant that experience is from my encounters with God. First of all I was invited into a relationship with God but I was commanded to appear before the court. God calls me by name and the court instructed me to answer only to the number they gave and not to pronounce my name. I was even given a badge to wear bearing my number, instructed to wear that from the moment I get out of my car. That card, that number stated all that they wanted to know about me as though it was the mark of Cain.
The Lord told Jacob that he (God) would be with him, would watch over him wherever he went. We have the freedom to choose the direction we go and the Lord will stay with us. In the courthouse I could only go the way I was directed, in the order I was directed. And if no one was with me I had to stay within a secured room. A few times while being marched through the back hallways and doorways I felt the urge to “Moo” since we were being treated like cattle. And on one occasion I felt like a small child when we were instructed to stay in the hallway until an official led us back to the appropriate room. And we stood there until an official came to tell us we could go for the day.
Psalm 8:4-5 “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the [angels] and crowned him with glory and honor.” God treat us with honor and respect while the government treats us as a number. The Lord deals with us as mature, thoughtful creatures (even when we don’t act like it) while the courts treat us as children and cattle. I think I will continue to spend more time with God.