Rich Paxson

I like to watch episodes of the television series ‘Blue Bloods’ on Netflix. Blue Bloods http://bit.ly/2k6YaiU chronicles New York City police work through the lens of the Reagan family. Frank, the father, is the Commissioner of Police. Son Danny is a detective. Daughter Erin works as an Assistant District Attorney. Youngest son Jamie is a cop on the beat. A Roman Catholic family, the Reagans observe the tradition of Sunday family dinners preceded by conversation and prayer. These family-time scenes punctuate high drama street scenes of violence and pathos.

One episode I watched recently portrayed youngest son, Jamie, the cop on the beat, arresting a gravely wounded man who was about Jamie’s age. Another police officer at the scene of the crime had shot and injured the unnamed perpetrator after his fleeing partner-in-crime had fired his gun and wounded a third police officer. The arrested offender eventually was handcuffed to a hospital bed where Jamie was assigned to guard him.

Jamie initially berated the man in custody, but he overcame this angry reaction recognizing the humanity of the criminal shackled to the bed. When his wound became infected, the bound man (the script had yet to use his name) developed sepsis, a life-threatening condition. The young man asked Jamie if he could have a second phone call to contact his mother, who he had not seen for years. Jamie agreed and eventually brought the man’s mother to his hospital bed when, for the first time, viewers learned the man’s name was Wallace. The rapprochement depicted on the screen portrayed Wallace’s opening to remembered innocence, to forgiveness preceding even heinous crime.

Jamie’s role made me think of the centurion at the foot of Jesus’s cross, who said: “Truly this man was God’s Son!” http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=352430554

Jamie and the centurion both represented easily identifiable, uniformed systems of law enforcement. Whether in uniform or not, each of us is conditioned to respond to ‘others’ by enforcing the rights and wrongs recreated in us by the social other. Before passing unforgiving judgments in daily interactions, we need to remember to love, to forgive, even as God loves us. http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=352430900