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God’s Police?

I was in conversation with a police officer when we discovered our common experience when visiting people. Each of us felt the normal reaction when turning up at someone’s door was, “Oh dear, what have I been caught doing now?” Not many people actually put it into words but their faces express more than anything they say out loud. With a police officer in uniform on the doorstep, it might well be understandable but why would anyone react like that to a vicar? I suspect it’s that too many people think of clergy as God’s police with a duty to report back to God on what people on earth have done wrong.

There are two false assumptions are behind this:-

1. that if the vicar can’t see what they’ve been up to, then neither can God. Proverbs chapter 15 verse3 tells us the eyes of God are everywhere. God can see far more than I ever will.

2. that a vicar’s job is to ferret out wrongdoing. I don’t need to find it out. The Bible tells us in many places; Romans chapter 3 being an example of how all humans sin and fall short of the standard God wants and expects of us. I’m just as human as anyone else, so I already know that from my own life, just as much as by reading it. Jeremiah chapter 18 gives an example of not just my role but that of anyone active in church life. It’s not to warn people of sins because we like catching them out but because God knows we all sin and would love us to turn from it and be rescued.

I suspect many in the police service would hope that their work not only catches criminals and deters crime, but that they might positively encourage people to live in a law abiding way. That is the aspect of police officer’s life that is most similar to a vicar’s job. It is not just reminding of us of God’s rules (the ten commandments, if you like) to keep on God’s straight and narrow path, but in actively helping us do so our daily lives will be happier and more fulfilled and in harmony with both God and our neighbours.

May God’s blessing of life be with us all.


Sermon, May 20th 10am service
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Rev'd. Simon Gill Telephone: Sudbury 375334

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