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Marks of the True Christian

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Larry, who lives in the fictional, 1950’s village of Grantchester, England, knows he is not the most intelligent or talented member of the local police force. But he is willing to keep working at getting better. He learns from his mistakes and observes his supervisor, Geordie, in action, regularly taking notes.

This season saw Larry step up into a bigger role with more responsibility. His colleagues didn’t see the change or his personal resolve at first.

Having lost his mum to a long illness, he took a leave of absence to grieve and put her estate in order. When he came back to work, he seemed like the same old Larry, not quite up to speed and a little vague around the edges. He clarified the situation for Miss Scott, the office secretary, who expressed sympathy and showed compassion for him.

She also began to see him with more respect.

During this time, we also saw Geordie being forced to retire by his supervisor, the police station superintendent, a newly-appointed fellow with multiple grudges and an aggressive, somewhat violent streak he didn’t pretend to hide. No one wanted to cross him or be in his cross hairs.

But then, Larry’s day came, and he seized it, both personally and professionally.

The police station superintendent, in full view of his officers and staff, bullied and hit a vulnerable member of the community who had been brought in for questioning in a robbery he obviously hadn’t committed. Two officers looked away. Larry and Geordie defended the victim of the superintendent’s assault, but the man was detained and put in a cell at the superintendent’s order.

Later that day, Larry went to release the detained gentleman, without permission from the superintendent. The prisoner asked Larry if he wasn’t going to get into a lot of trouble for letting him go. Larry said he probably would, but it was the right thing to do.

It was what Geordie would do.

Still later that same day, when Geordie returned to his office at the police station, he called Larry into his office, not to berate him for letting the detained man go, but to tell him what a good thing he had done. He also told Larry that his mum would be proud of him.

Then Geordie took a large plaque hanging on his office wall and passed it on to Larry as his departing gift to him before his own retirement. The plaque read, “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

Larry was visibly pleased with Geordie’s professional affirmation for his work, and he was proud to receive the gift he had admired from his own desk, through the glass wall that separated Geordie’s office from the squad room, during the whole of his police career.

But there is a little bit more to this story.

Unbeknownst to Geordie, after witnessing the station superintendent’s violent behavior, Larry had gone to the superintendent’s superior with a complaint of excessive force against him.

This action on Larry’s part resulted in the superintendent’s transfer to another station and the termination of Geordie’s retirement.

After delivering the news of his own transfer and Geordie being allowed to stay, the superintendent had asked Geordie if it was him who had turned him in. Geordie said he didn’t know what he was talking about, and was left standing in his office, quite baffled at these new circumstances.

When it dawned on Geordie that Larry had filed the complaint, he glanced out through the glass walls of his office to the squad room to see Larry holding up his newly-received gift with a magnificent smile on his face. The plague Geordie had given him read: Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

In that moment, I believe Geordie was even more proud of Larry than he had realized.

About the author

Corey Kemp

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.

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