I'm registered with the local Sheriff precinct as a Clergy Volunteer. They have my photo and fingerprints, so I'd better think again about any crime I might have contemplated.
I have been called upon for special duty in a suicide case to sit with the parents while the investigators dealt with the young man's body in the other room. He was an overweight loner who seemed to have just found his nitch in a computer science major at UCLA. But apparently he came home the night before, but a plastic bag over his head and ended it all. They were Roman Catholic people, and they gave me a courteous hearing as I explained the gospel of grace, and how suicide is not the unpardonable sin. I hope they saw the difference between sovereign grace in the Bible and what their superstitions had taught them. But at this time of crisis in a person's life it is hard to know what they might remember. This too is in the Lord's hands.
They called me to counsel with the mother of a 4 yr old girl who died from a fall off the cliff at Point Fermin Park. The mother was certain that the father of the child threw her over the side to keep from paying support for the child. Interestingly enough that case is in the local paper now, and the second hung jury has just reported. It seems they cannot agree on the degree of responsibility with which to charge the dad.
Then there was the time I was called to help keep two families separated in the waiting room of the ER at the local hospital. The boy of one family had been shot in the head and was dying. The other family's boy did the shooting. But he had been shot by responding deputies, and was cuffed to the bed in the same ER. It was a potential for serious conflict, as you might imagine. It turned out that the victim's family were black Muslims, and I told them I was a Christian minister, and asked if I could pray for them. They kindly gave me permission and I prayed for them to find comfort in the gospel. It is important to try to comfort and yet not compromise the gospel. No one seemed to be angry so I don't know how to grade my performance of duty.
Next blog post will tell about my ride along experiences. Stay tuned.