Gavin and I have started to watch the West Wing – he has the entire box-set so it’s going to take a while!
I have to admit that I’m nowhere near as big a fan as he is. It is, without a doubt, the politics that, as he puts it, “sends shivers down his spine”. For me, the excitement (until now) has been the interpersonal relationships – like will CJ and Danny EVER get together?!
That is, until this episode – ‘Take this Sabbath Day’. It’s about the death penalty and it’s the last five minutes that really grabbed my attention. This clip, that I’ve added, stole the show for me:
“I prayed for wisdom and none came. And I’m a little pissed off about that. I’m not kidding.”
I love that! It’s so refreshing to hear. It’s not “faith speak”. It’s not what he should say or what he’s expected to say. It’s honest. How many times have I said that, even just to myself? Umm…too many. So often I have prayed and felt “a little pissed off” when I have felt unanswered, forgotten or unheard. But this has to be my favourite line, and the reason for this post…
“He sent you a Priest, a Rabbi and a Quaker, not to mention his son Jesus Christ – what do you want from him?”
This sent a shiver down my spine!!
I am not in favour of the death penalty and I admit to being disappointed at President Bartlett for allowing this to go ahead. I hate the concept of it, the idea of it, never mind the actual out working of it – it makes me sick to the pit of my stomach. But I’m not here to debate it.
“He sent you his son Jesus Christ – what do you want for him?”
I hold my hands up and admit that I have something in common with Bartlett. Often I ask, even beg, God to show up and tell me where He wants me to go with something or what He wants me to do, only to complain when (in my eyes) He doesn’t. There are many times He has sent me a “rabbi, a priest and a quaker” and, even then, I have failed to see them as His voice in my questions. But there are also times He hasn’t sent any of them.
This episode of the West Wing really brings it home to me – most of the time I don’t need someone else; I don’t need a sign; and I don’t need a ‘word’ or a prophesy – I simply need to look at Jesus Christ. He is my plumb line when I need a measuring stick; my guide when I need to know what to do next; and my example when I’m confused as to how I should live.
He teaches me to forgive instead of keeping records of wrongs; to love without limits or agenda; to show mercy instead of seeking revenge; to pray for those who hate me; to do good to my enemies; to be gracious and not praise seeking; to have faith that can move mountains; to trust in the darkest of nights; to get out of the boat and walk on water; to have compassion on those I don’t believe deserve it; to be slow to anger; not to fear or be afraid; to pray without ceasing; to hope instead of despairing; in all things to personally know my Father in Heaven; and to look to Him to give me all I need while accepting I won’t get everything I want.
Theology in the West Wing? Yes, please! Maybe this box-set will prove more interesting and inspiring than I first thought!