Wednesday, Fifth Week in Lent

by Matthew B. Harper

2 Corinthians 3:3 – …you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

In prison, we are often moved between institutions. Such movement comes without warning. The officers simply show up and tell a man to pack up, and within 24 hours he very may well be on the other side of the state.

In our Christian communities here these very words take on special new meanings. I have good friends at my institution, and we work to preach and minister to each other, but we may also leave at any given moment. We work hard to prepare each other as a letter of Christ. When a young man comes to the faith, we rejoice. But we know that what we are seeing is a turning point on a journey that started long before we entered into the young man’s life. And when this same man is sent away, we have to trust and pray that wherever he arrives, his new faith will be ‘watered’ by the Christian community there.

This is no different from what all of us experience in all of our lives, and no different from what parents go through when their children grow up and move out. I have felt terrible frustration in my life when I worked to teach and minister to a man, only to see him transfer, or be released, still on a path of destruction. I can only trust that I might have been able to sow seeds that will be watered by others, and harvested in God’s time.

So we must simply commit ourselves to working for God everywhere and with whomever God places before us, at all times, in all places.

That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive us all our sins, negligence, and ignorance; and to endure us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to thy holy Word, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord” BCP 152

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