Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The summons, the to-do list, the conviction, and what it all has to do with Holy Week

When the jury summons arrived, I couldn’t believe the date. My week to serve fell during Holy Week. A busy Palm Sunday bookended by Easter, and my civic duty assigned to the days between.

So much to do. Mercy.



I want to do my part, but this would be a challenge.

In addition, I’m always nervous when I have to serve. I guess it’s the unknowns and wondering if I will understand the case clearly.

As I exit my car and enter the parking deck elevator, another juror expressed the same sentiments I had as she pressed the elevator for the ground floor. “Couldn’t believe it when I received my summons for the week before Easter!”

But here we were on Monday morning depositing our handbags at the security check point, registering, and looking for the courtroom. I take my seat and pull out a book I’ve been reading, the voluminous John Adams by David McCullough. It looks like it’s going to be awhile before we start, and then who knows how long jury selection will take.

I’m trying to read, but in my mind, I’m wondering about my to-do list.  If I’m chosen, how will I get everything done for Easter weekend? The cooking, the basket making, getting everything ready for guests.

But then, a quote I highlighted earlier in this book comes to mind. Something Abigail Adams said in a letter to her husband, John, “Posterity who are to reap the blessings will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and sufferings of their ancestors.” This woman had lived through war, plague, and been forced to be apart from her husband for years at a time, all for the sake of helping to birth a free nation. She had known the worst of it. And she was right. Here I was sitting in this courtroom, two hundred years later, elevating my to-do list above the present duty, forgetting what it had cost―this privilege of giving someone a jury of their peers, a benefit of living in a democratic society rather than under a dictatorship or some other vile form of government.

I felt conviction.

Interestingly, I was the first juror disqualified. My son works for the insurance company that happened to be involved in the case. A definite conflict of interest.

But during this Holy Week as I’ve reflected on the events of Monday morning, I wonder how often I forget the hardship, the suffering of the one who bought our eternal freedom.

Will I spend Holy Week busy just doing stuff, or will I allocate time to thank Him, to worship Him, to remember all He has done for me?

Do I understand the case clearly?

A man who seemed to have some of the same kind of struggles I do, explained it this way, “They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls” (I Peter 2:24-25 The Message).

During this Holy Week, let’s not run straight to the empty tomb without first stopping at the foot of the cross on Good Friday to remember what Jesus really did for us, how he suffered.

I believe if we do, the empty tomb will be all the more glorious.


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