1 Peter 1:3-9
What is your message?
This should be the time of year that we should reflect and reevaluate our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We have just finished celebrating the event that our faith hinges on: the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. I see and hear preachers push prosperity-heavy ministries and say that if one is not living a prosperous lifestyle, then you’re not worshiping the Creator the right way. I’m sorry, that’s a bunch of bologna folks. Continue reading
by Matthew B. Harper
Prison, with a sentence of any length, is a death. It is one of those experiences that changes you forever. Even if your sentence is short, whatever comes next will be touched by your time in prison. This death is more profound when you have a longer sentence, as I do. Coming to prison meant that my old life, and the plans and dreams I had, all died. Acknowledging that was a long and painful grieving process. It felt like the end of my world, and in a way it was.
“A Convict’s Symphony”
The system believes that Christ would
never have any dealings with me.
A gangsta’ who ran the streets.
Welcome to this convict’s symphony,
Please forgive me,
But there’s no violins playing in this soliloquy.
The Messiah came to redeem me of
It’s been almost two millennia since He
obediently embraced his destiny.
What was that you said to me?
“Jesus despises people like me!” Continue reading
by Matthew B. Harper
Revelation 22:12–14, 16–17, 20–21
We are in the seventh week of Easter, and our extra readings from the Acts of the Apostles are drawing to a close. But before they do, we read this wonderful account of God shaking the very walls of prison. It is a fitting place to read for this Prison Lectionary.
The Book of Acts begins with Messiah teaching his Apostles for forty days after his resurrection and commanding them not to leave Jerusalem until the promised Holy Spirit is sent to them. He then ascends up to heaven from the Mr. of Olives. Two men in white, who we are lead to believe are actually angels, tell the Apostles that the Messiah will come back to Earth in the same manner they saw him go up to heaven.
Revelation 21:10-22; 22:1-5
There I was at the Commissary window, a friend of mine, an inmate worker who is himself a self-proclaimed Christian was there helping the cashier by bringing everything I had ordered to the register to be rung up. I noticed that instead of my usual order of 24 spicy vegetable ramen noodles he had brought me 24 of the new Cajun shrimp. A substitution that he made of his own initiative. I politely objected to this change in my order. I asked my friend to please replace these shrimp ramen with any other flavor. I did this because I observe the dietary laws of Scripture. My friend does not.
This reading from the Gospel of John deals with many interesting points, the first one being “we will… make our home with him” signifying that all of us who put our love in Jesus and obey his words will experience the immediate presence and love of the Father and the Son. And lastly, that when we give into anxiety or worry that shows a lack of faith in God’s fatherly care and love.
Fifth Sunday of Easter C
Before the foundation of the Earth was formed, our Heavenly Father already had the “happily ever after” all figured out. The life that exists today and everything in it is temporary.
Fourth Sunday of Easter: Year C
When I was younger, I had a distorted view on how to worship God. Many times I would say, “I’m not ready yet.” I thought that before I can enter in his presence, I had to be perfect. That’s crazy, right? It was not until I heard his voice, that I realized I had it all wrong.
“For His Name’s Sake”
How dramatic was the conversion of Paul? Well, it’s kind of like one of those instances that we should have been there. If you read it carefully along with prayer, you see that it’s an action-packed screenplay, just dying for the director Steven Spielberg to put on film.