From "I'm in hot pursuit" to "Book em' Danno"

This past Sunday a sermon series , "Storytime" on the parables of Jesus began with Dr. Jim Ellison preaching on the parable of the lost coin.  "Advice from Roscoe P. Coltrane" was the title.

I admit that had to be reminded that Roscoe P. Coltrane was the sheriff from the TV show, The Dukes of Hazzard, that ran from 1979 to 1985.  Roscoe P. Coltrane, as Jim pointed out in his sermon, was always in hot pursuit in his patrol car chasing the Duke boys in their car, "The General Lee."  The analogy being that God is in hot pursuit of the lost--are we also in hot pursuit of the lost?  Are we like the woman looking for her lost coin intently until she finds it?  The Creator of the Universe is intently searching for the lost, in hot pursuit of the lost, and we need to be seeking the lost, too.

This week, as I often do after a sermon, I have thought about the illustrations in the sermon and the ways they continue to speak to me.  Here are some of my thoughts this Wednesday:
  • When I think of God being in "hot pursuit" of the lost, I think of John Wesley's term, prevenient grace.  I think of the ways that God is "wooing" and seeking intently to be in a relationship with each person so that not one of God's children is separated from God--it is a chase because we have to stop, recognize that God is pursuing us, and choose to be in the relationship and choose to maintain the relationship as part of our living and breathing each day.  Too often, we keep being chased.
  • I also find myself remembering where I was when the Dukes of Hazzard began its TV run.
This leads me to Hawaii Five-O and "Book 'em, Danno."  From 1975 to 1979 I lived in Hawaii.  Before arriving there, I regularly watched this show that aired from 1968 to 1980, and I loved the opening scenes with all of the scenic views of the Hawaiian Islands. 

Steve McGarrett, played by Jack Lord, was head of an elite state police force, and his side kick was second in command, Danny Williams AKA, Danno, played by James MacArthur.  At the end of each episode when the case had been solved, McGarrett would always say, "Book em' Danno."

From "I'm in hot pursuit." to "Book em' Danno" is where my mind went this week.  From prevenient grace to justifying grace--"Book em' Danno."

Once God finds us and we accept God's invitation to be in relationship with God, we accept the gift of the salvation of Jesus Christ, God's son, then we receive justifying grace--we realize what a mess we are and the ways we have not been living our lives and are not living our lives that are pleasing to God and that honor and praise God.  We are convicted that we fall short of being holy as God is holy.  "Book em' Danno."--give them the full power of the law that the crime the person committed allows.

When we stop running from God, and we accept God's grace, love, and salvation through Christ, then God is no longer in hot pursuit of us.  We are forgiven and accepted by God, and we often feel the full weight of all that we have not done that we should have done.  This is known as justifying grace--God's grace that "books us/convicts us" of all the ways we have missed the mark of God's call on our lives to live loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Where are you in this scenario?  Are you lost? Or have you been found by God and accepted God's salvation and forgiveness?  Or are you stuck somewhere between being found and being "booked or convicted of missing the mark," but not able to move on?

Steve McGarrett, side kick, Danno Williams, 1968 to 1980

Dukes of Hazzard, 1979 to 1985


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