I had to appear at the courthouse this morning as a prospective juror on a civil case. It took only three hours (roll my eyes) into the process before I could convey to judge and the attorneys that I have medical treatment every third Wednesday and would not be able to serve those days. Even though the current schedule for the trial precludes those days, they still excused me from serving.
On one hand I'm happy to be excused since it means I won't have to be shuffling my calendar and I'll be able to make a visit to our granddaughter's home (out of state) as planned.
But on the other hand, I've never served on a jury before and I would have found it extremely interesting. Even the jury selection process itself was interesting. There were approximately 50 of my fellow citizens who appeared at the courthouse this morning. It amazed me that 50 people could wake up, look at their calendar, and remember, "Aha! I have to be at the courthouse today!".
Two of us asked the clerk what happens if someone fails to show up. Her answer? They would be subject to fine and a "contempt of court". And if processed of jury selection left the court with only 7 instead of 8 jurors, the sheriff would be dispatched to the missing person's home to bring them to court to serve. But what was really surprising to me was that if they still lacked the required number of jurors, the sheriff could actually bring in someone off the street to serve on the jury.
I said, "The moral to that is to not linger near the courthouse!" And everyone laughed.
Since our county is small in terms of population, most trials here are completed in a few days time. It's not as if a jury would be sequestered for well over a year as in that infamous murder trial in California some years ago that was on TV night after night. No, this trial will be short and sweet. And I really would have enjoyed serving.
There's something reassuring about observing the rule of law as it is played out. The plaintiff has a fair day in court to explain his reason for bringing his case to a jury. The defendant has equal access to fairness in terms of producing evidence on his own behalf. Guidelines are in place. The law is clear. All parties are instructed as to how the case will proceed and under what parameters in terms of evidence, testimony, time frame, etc. The case will be decided by eight jurors who live and work here, who may indeed know one or both parties to the case, and who are members of a community that desires fairness for all. The system sets in place guidelines to ensure that all jurors are fair, unbiased, and able.
It would have been interesting to not only observe, but to also be a participant in the process that we call justice. There's something reassuring about justice. And in a courtroom scene, it is judgment that pronounces justice.
All that reminds me of John 5:24 wherein Jesus states, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
Justice will be served. But in this case, the justice was served at the cross for all who belong to God. And since justice was served and since we are justified already by Christ's work at the cross, we do not come into judgment. We have passed out of death. We have moved into the kingdom of light. And we have life.
There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1.