21 March 2008

Life's brass ring

Of the books I brought with me this week I have read three, two slender volumes in the personal theology/spirituality genre and a novel. I am coming more and more to appreciate that it’s in the story, not only in the form of straight theology, that one gleans the thought-provoking nugget, the nugget, if we’re reading for more than just a plot, which helps us examine ourselves and our lives. Jesus was definitely on to something.

The novel, “The Closers” by Michael Connelly, is set in the Los Angeles police department post-Rodney King and is the story of a seventeen year old open/unsolved murder case. Ultimately, I would say it’s about redemption, about redeeming what has gone before, making useful – if not whole – what wasn’t as it should or could have been.

The police department, not to mention Los Angeles itself, is in need of redemption, most certainly. The just-out-of-retirement detective – referred to by the chief of police as a “boot,” no more highly ranked than the newest graduate of the police academy, and by those in the department who would like to see him fail as a “retread” -- knows he has to prove himself. The father of the murdered teenaged girl, now on LA’s version of skid row, too, is seeking redemption for the ways he knows he failed his child following her death.

The detective, Harry Bosch, finds the father, Robert Verloren, and implores him to tell him everything he possibly can recall about his daughter’s death and the subsequent and eventually abandoned investigation.

Verloren started nodding halfway through Bosch’s appeal. Bosch knew he had him, that he would open up. It was about redemption. It didn’t matter how many years had gone by. Redemption was always the brass ring.
What a terrible, touching paragraph. But, I think Bosch’s assessment is true. It’s what we all want, need, long for, redemption. That brass ring is the prize that brings peace, no matter who we are, no matter what we have done or have not done.

Anything can be redeemed. Anything.

Do we believe it? Do we believe it for ourselves? Do we believe it for any and everyone?

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