A feature of the States of Jersey over many decades has been its ability to apply brakes to all sorts of activity – in the public interest, of course.
There are brakes on obvious things like importing damaging drugs or diseased plants. There are brakes over the development of land by building on it. And brakes over mergers and acquisitions. And so on.
Another vital “brake” for all of us who live in this most beautiful of placers is a brake on crime and criminal activity. Many people who begin to have an acquaintance with Jersey and begin to love it ask the question, “What is the crime rate like in Jersey?” And we give a variety of answers – answers that often speak of comparisons with other places (“less pro rata than the UK”; “fewer serious crimes than elsewhere”; “murder is comparatively rare”).
The States of Jersey Police, together with officers within Jersey’s honorary system, play a key role in the reduction of crime – and its detection. They also, by policing neighbourhoods and in other ways, prevent crime. The Courts in Jersey are highly effective in meting out justice to offenders. These are the “brakes” on criminal activity of all kinds. And they are vital for the people of Jersey.
But is there an “accelerator”? Is there something that actually increases “goodness” and thereby reduces crime?
The absence of an accelerator in this area is not only a problem for Jersey. Bulgaria and Romania were admitted into the EU on 1 January 2007 – but are subject to strict monitoring to ensure that they make more progress in the fight against corruption and organized crime. How will they do that? Well, the only system they have is the system of “brakes” – stopping and detecting and imprisoning. There’s no “accelerator” to turn their (combined) 30,000,000 people towards “goodness”.
Take a look at the parallel (or parable) that this man, Jesus Christ, taught to huge crowds in AD 31. The parallel talks of bearing fruit - huge multiplications of fruit – from a seed. That’s an accelerator – a special kind of multiplier that we see annually in Jersey with the Jersey Royal potato crop. Each seed potato produces fruit of about 5 or 6 times the original potato – each year.
What seed did Jesus say would produce this fruit of goodness in people? Can we make use of this marvelous seed in Jersey? How about sending supplies to Bulgaria and Romania?
See above. The seed seems to be “the word”. What then is this vital “word”?
The “word” seems to be the “word” about him, the facts about Jesus Christ, his life, the people he met, his goodness, his criminalization, his execution, his rising from death. It changes people inside as they see and understand him.
The power of this “word” - this accelerator - is much greater than that of force or imprisonment (neither of which Jesus used). It is the power that submits to force and even to death itself - for the forgiveness and blessing of others, to set them free. It’s the power that transcends evil.
Is this “word” that powerful?
No? Well, in that case we need to keep going using only brakes.