Wednesday, 17 October 2007

'In the Tender Compassion of our God...'

It's not my place, or the place of this blog, to spill too much out into cyberspace. I suppose with any kind of writing there has to be restraint and responsibility and that is certainly the case today. I try to write from things I've seen or heard or done - although, more often than not, I will have chosen a rather mundane matter in order to extricate something more, perhaps. Yesterday, of course, was the sentencing of Geraint Evans who killed Fr Paul Bennett (a friend of mine since I was young) and I wish to exercise restraint because so much is said and quoted and I would not wish to say anything without Fr Paul's family giving me any kind of permission.

As I sat in the court yesterday I was, of course, filled with many emotions and thoughts but this is not the place to share them. I had never been in a Crown Court before and so this was new territory, a new experience, tinged with the saddest of circumstances. I suppose I had expected it to be cold in atmosphere, a strange, distant place that exercised justice in a highly charged atmosphere. Perhaps I thought it would be clinical, a conveyor belt of cases to be carried on and carried out. But one of the things that struck me in the midst of the raw and disabling emotion around me was the way that justice could be delivered with such compassion, sensitivity and gentleness to the people involved in the case.

When people think about what we mean by 'God's Judgement' they think quite often of wrath and anger, a vengeful vacillation with bulging veins. And it's a mistaken one. Of course, there is anger in the hearts of people affected by acts of injustice and they do not disappear in a day, if at all. And yes, there is pain, that always leaves its mark, and people are left broken hearted - and the heart is not easily healed. But yesterday, amongst so many other things, I was struck by the Judge who was so sensitive to the feelings of the family and those he knew to be within the court. He was considerate and compassionate and I never once thought that this was a man going through the motions. Yes, there was the directness of his sentencing at the end which he delivered, of course, with deep seriousness, his words loaded with an emotion that expressed the seriousness of the crime. But I learned yesterday that the way of dealing with acts of injustice, and the way of judgement, can and should be done with tenderness. And I thank God for that.

'In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who live in darkness, under the shadow of death.' Luke 1:78-79

1 comment:

PluckyChuck said...

The first time I sat on a jury, and as soon as the trial began, when I realized the we held a man's future in our hands, I was overwhelmed with the aweful responsibility I had been given. I think we all felt the same. I realized in that experience that courtrooms are serious places where feelings like 'compassion' and 'responsibility' pervade.