A couple of weeks ago I was called in for jury duty. Though I had been called up in the past, I had always been excused for one logistical reason or another. This time, I found myself down at the New Haven courthouse early on a sunny September morning in a large room with dozens of other folks. If you have served jury duty, you know it usually involves a lot of sitting around and waiting.
I’ll admit: at first, I felt pretty disgruntled about having to spend my day in an hermetically-sealed room. But as I sat there, looking around at all the other good people putting their normal routines on hold in order to fulfill their jury duty, my inner narrative began to shift. Rather than begrudge a “wasted” day, I focused instead on gratitude: how grateful I am to be healthy enough to be there that day, what a privilege it is to live in a country with a legal system that entitles us to a fair trial by a jury of our peers, how amazing it is that our system works as well as it does when so many countries have no due process at all-- and that average citizens play an important role in it.
To be sure, there are broken places within our system and within our country, nowhere more glaringly so than in the ongoing disparity of justice between our white and black citizens. But it is a justice system built on the principle that all people are created equal, and entitled to equal justice in the eyes of the law. The foundations are extraordinary, even if the execution of justice has been and sometimes still is imperfect and inconsistent.
My day of jury duty ended as uneventfully as it began. My perception of the day, however, was transformed as soon as I chose to lean into a posture of gratitude, rather than one of disgruntled attitude. I left the courthouse feeling it had been a day very well spent indeed.
This Sunday I will be preaching on Luke 17:11-19 and exploring more on the topic of gratitude. Come, and bring an open, grateful heart to Sunday morning worship, to be in fellowship together once again.