Grand Jury as a prayer discipline

justice.jpgGrand jury duty is a grueling civic responsibility. In the county where I live, serving on grand jury requires service one fixed day per week for 8 weeks, typically spanning a 9-5 workday. The assistant district attorneys present witnesses and evidence, explain the laws related to the counts of their proposed indictments and then leave the grand jury members to deliberate as to the reasonable likelihood that the accused committed the crimes with which they are charged.

The proceedings, cases, witnesses and deliberations are secret. However, there is a common thread running through each – sin. Each and every case involves sin against another person, damage to a person or their property. We hear from the victims, those sinned against, and from those in law enforcement and other professions who assist them in their documenting circumstances of loss or violation. Sometimes we hear from the defendants, though not very often.  It’s all generally ugly business, but especially so when there are people physically injured.

I can’t help but pray as I listen to the stories presented, as I see the evidence of unspeakable crimes like statutory rape and other sex offenses involving children, or assault, robbery, burglary, larceny and arson, to the more common drug possession charges.  Each case offers it’s own opportunities to pray for real images of God as we weigh their stories against the rules of man.  It’s an awkward conflict sometimes, but the only way I can make it through the responsibility which has frequently troubled my spirit.  I don’t know how else to get through it, nor of any other way to help people of whom I legally must forget.  What an example of law vs grace.

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