Sunday, October 28, 2018

a view from a point

Looking out the window from the 14th floor of the Federal Courthouse I saw something unexpected ... the Gateway Arch from the west side, the mighty Mississippi a narrow strip of water in the background.

In respect for the solemnity of the event -- the sentencing hearing of a friend -- I had left my cell phone behind, in a car parked on the streets below. I could not digitally capture the image.

Searching today for a photograph that represented what my eyes had briefly observed, I discovered how rarely the camera lens captures this view. Most of humanity photographs the arch from the east; the vast majority from at or near ground level. 

I am reminded of a new-to-me concept from Richard Rohr's "The Naked Now"

a viewpoint is a view from a point.

Like the view from the 14th floor, an unfamiliar viewpoint occasionally surprises me. More often, though, it is an event that impacts my viewpoint -- when life-as-I-know-it is altered by death or birth, unexpected illness or the restoration of health, the tension of chaos or the tranquility of shalom, the earthly consequences of sin or the arrival of healing grace.

In the days and weeks preceding the sentencing of my friend, my heart and my prayers sought grace and peace for her. 

I found my heart pondering God's justice and grace against the backdrop of our legal system. I wrestled with the great potential for injustice, knowing that though the U.S. is ranked 19 of 113 countries globally, our legal system is a poor substitute for justice.

I struggle with the incarceration response to financial crime and the probation plea arranged for life-threatening choices. 

I pray seeking grace and justice for two friends. One, in 2018, is accompanied by her defense attorney and the other, in 2011, is a witness for the prosecution. 

And, even as I write, I am convicted, my bias exposed

my viewing point is my seat in the courtroom.


Photo credit: 20490869
U.S. Ranking: WJP Rule of Law Index 2017-2018 

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