Sermon at Police Remembrance Day Service 29th September 2016 – Jodie McNeill



Ever noticed how often kids say that when they grow up, they want to be a police officer?

Put your hand up if when YOU were a kid, you said you wanted to be a a police officer when you you grew up?


Now why do you think that so many kids say they want to be in the police force when they grow up?

Maybe it’s the fast patrol cars with the flashing lights and sirens?

Maybe it’s the impressive uniform?

Maybe it’s the guns and the gear on your belt?

Or maybe it’s a deep, down realisation that this is a profession that really makes a difference in the world?

I wonder if you felt that when you first applied to join the force?

I wonder if that’s what was going through your mind as you graduated from Goulburn, with your shiny shoes, and freshly-pressed uniform?

Maybe you joined the force because you thought it was a profession that would really make a difference in the world?

Well, the truth is, your profession really does make a difference.

And God, himself, thinks so, too.

We read in the Bible, in the book of Romans, chapter 13 verse 1 that everyone should…

“be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” 

God has given authority to the New South Wales Police Force.

When you carry out your duties, you are doing God’s work in his world.

When you cancel the licence of a drunk driver, you’re doing God’s work in his world.

When you protect a vulnerable person who has experienced domestic violence, you’re doing God’s work in his world.

When you serve as part of the New South Wales Police Force, you are doing God’s work in his world.

And my friends, this is a very high calling.

Indeed, the next verse in the Bible shows just how much authority you have from God in your job. The Bible says:

“Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

When you carry out your duties, you act to do what God has instituted.

But as this verse reminds us, we live in a world that does not willingly accept authority.

We read in this verse that we should expect people to rebel against the authority that God has given you.

And in many ways, this is the reason why we gather here, today, for this police remembrance day service.

For we know that every day you put on your uniform, you literally place yourself in the line of fire.

You put your life on the line whenever you put your cap on your head.

And for this, I am deeply grateful.

On behalf of this church and our wider community, I honour you for your willingness to serve us with such courage and conviction.

And God knows just how much courage you need to carry out your duties.

Senior Constable Katharine Hudson is a member of our church, and from time to time I chat with her about life in the police force.

And she tells me of some of the daily threats you face as you carry out your duties.

Just handing out a speeding ticket can result in tragedy when the driver explodes in violent rage.

Turning up to the scene of domestic violence can place you right in front of an aggressor with a weapon.

Every day you come face-to-face with some of the most angry and mixed-up people in our world.

And this means that you place your lives on the line as you carry out your duties.

Now, this doesn’t just have an impact on your physical health.

It can have a profound impact on your emotional and mental health.

And this will also flow across to your loved ones who anxiously await your safe return after every shift.

The loved ones who help you lick your wounds and share your grief.

You all witness an unhealthy dose of rebellion against authority, every day.

People rebel against the law of the land, and you are the ones who bear the brunt.

But the reason they rebel against the law is because they are ultimately rebelling against God’s authority.

And the Bible tells us that we should expect this to happen.

Because everyone is born in rebellion against God, our creator.

By nature, we all choose to follow our own self-rule, rather than God’s good rule.

Which means that every human is, by nature, a rebel against God.

Fortunately, most people are very civil in their rebellion against God.

Most people are law-abiding citizens.

But some are not… and they are the ones that you come in contact with daily.

But either way, every human is a natural-born rebel against our creator God.

And we all deserve God’s punishment us for that rebellion.

But the Bible tells us that Jesus died in our place, giving his life in exchange for ours.

He died in our place, taking the punishment we deserve, and giving us the forgiveness we don’t deserve.

And to take advantage of this, all a person needs to do is to say sorry for our rebellion, and to rely on him as loving ruler.

And this all can happen because Jesus laid down his life for ours.

That’s what we read in our second Bible reading, didn’t we?

Katherine read to us that “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.”

But Jesus went one step further: he laid down his life for us while we were his enemies.

And that is the greatest sacrifice of all.

Jesus’ death also gives us the ultimate model of sacrifice.

He shows us what it is like to give his life in service of others.

And that is what every one of you in the blue and white are prepared to do every day.

Most of you will not sacrifice life or limb.

But some of you and your colleagues have and will.

And that’s why we’re gathered here, today.

To remember those who have sacrificed life and limb in their God-given duties as an officer in the New South Wales Police Force.

You might, sometimes, wonder if it’s worth risking your life to protect our state?

Well, in those moments, remember this: God has given you a high calling to protect and to serve.

And the sacrifice you make is not in vain.

Yet, it is not without a great cost to you and your loved ones.

We know this well, and for this, we honour you.

Let me pray.

Our loving heavenly Father,

This day we for the family, friends and colleagues of those who have sacrificed life and limb as they protect and serve our nation.

Please comfort those who grieve, and calm the anxieties of those who worry.

Thank you for the hope and forgiveness that Jesus offers all of us through his own, personal sacrifice.

May we personally trust in him as we know the cost of his death and the hope from his life.

And we pray this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.