I paused, and let the word cause associations in my mind.
It is a verb as well as a noun.
The Police and To police
Protecting and serving of the community.
The long arm of the law.
Visible human authority.
In the 1980’s I had attended a bible study at Steven Oake’s House and imagined what it must be like knowing your spouse or your father was going out where there could very well be trouble as part of his Job. I remembered Lesley, his widow’s television interviews after his murder during an anti-terrorism raid. About three months later I saw her at one of the checkouts in Tesco’s.
“ Should I say anything?”
“Could I say anything that might help?”
“Probably best to pray.”
“Father, bless Lesley and her children. Thank you for her courage in testifying about forgiveness and justice and the Christian hope. Be with them, as they go about their lives, doing the shopping and the washing up and whatever else. Help them to see you clearly and to know your reassuring presence as they deal with anger, loss, intrusion, and awkward, well meaning, people trying to say the right thing. Thank you for preventing me from being one myself.”
“Then I realised… in all this I was very concerned about what the right thing to do or say would be.”
A WWJD moment, you might say. “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?”
Somehow though, it just doesn’t seem to help. By the time I’ve thought about it, the moments gone. It seems to make me conscious of my performance as a Christian. It makes me into the kind of person who is continually bothered about all kinds of difficulties that come from living in the real world. Would Jesus shop at Tescos, or would he shop at local shops who are not using buying power to squeeze producers who depend on them? Would Jesus go without coffee if he couldn’t find fairly traded coffee? Would Jesus have any money at all in the bank if he lived in England in the third millenium? Would Jesus take child tax credits? Would Jesus work for an NHS trust where lives are saved and unborn children wilfully killed? That was the kind of person I was. The biggest issue was whether I could feel that I was doing the right or the wrong thing, and often the uncertainty and the awareness of Christ’s perfection make me even more inactive through fear of messing up.
The remarkable thing about what Jesus did when I read the Gospels is that he JUST DID IT! (So maybe he would have worn NIKE trainers.) Seriously though, when did we see Jesus stuck for words or paralysed by a dilemma? Well maybe in Gethsemane, but I couldn’t call that paralysis. He was stealing himself for what lay ahead by submitting his own will to his father’s in prayer.
Jesus knew his scriptures, and he spent plenty of time alone in prayer. The Apostle tells us.
(1) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
(2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The imitation of God and putting Jesus’ teachings into practice and following Jesus’ example, are all good things. However, when we are faced with a situation. That is usually the most difficult time to do it especially on the spur of the moment.
Which is why my bracelet would read not WWJD but RCIIY
“Rejoice! Christ is in you!”
If that is true, then surely we can trust HIM to police us.
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