Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
Martin Luther taught that we are baptized into the priesthood. We are followers of Jesus not just on Sunday morning, but Monday through Saturday as well. We carry the name of Jesus; we are Christians. Your daily work is no less important than mine. God will open the doors for ministry for you, at work, at play, at Payless, and Useless Bay.
I opened the mail in January to find that I had been summoned for Jury Duty. My two-week stint would be conveniently scheduled for Holy Week. That did not seem practical to me. I asked to be excused or rescheduled. The Superior Court in Coupeville granted my deferral and assigned me two weeks in May.
On Tuesday, May 17 I arrived at Superior Court at 8:15 am. There were 55 potential jurors for a trial that was about to begin. We spent the day being ushered in and out of the courtroom.
Lawyers for the State and the Defense asked probing questions. “How would you define reckless?” “What does reasonable doubt mean to you?” “Have you ever been arrested?” “Are you aware of your own biases?” It was a fascinating study in human nature, an interesting insight into our judicial system, and an opportunity for community service.
At the end of the day, at 4:00 p.m., I was released from service. Who wants a seemingly self-righteous religious person sitting in judgement of them? There were many blessings on that Tuesday in Coupeville. But by far, the most inspiring was seeing Judge Carolyn Cliff in action. She was the consummate professional, prepared and ready. She was clear and direct. But she was also patient and kind. She lovingly and gracefully guided jurors through the day. There were no professions of faith from Judge Cliff, but it was clear to me that her faith guided her.
Judge Cliff and husband Butch are in church at TLC every week. Butch has given his life in service to God and country. I see them every week in their assigned seats. And every week at the end of the service they are sent out from God’s sanctuary to a world that needs them. They are members of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. They are the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.
I was so proud, sitting behind my mask and hoping not to be asked any hard questions. I was so proud of the way that Judge Cliff served and modeled the Christian lifestyle. St. Francis said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”
Thank you, my friends Carolyn and Butch, for inspiring me to be a part of the Priesthood of all believers. May we all find our place of service this week and always.
One day closer,
Pastor Jim
-Painting by Byron Birdsall-