Matthew B. Harper
A Sermon for Epiphany 4B
1st Corinthians 8:1-13
Sometimes I think that perhaps life is simply safer and easier in prison than out. Life in here can be difficult, painful, and violent, but there is a clarity and honesty to it. The outside world, one I’ve only seen on TV and in glossy magazines for 20 years now, seems to be consumed with acrimony and judgment. Rather than bringing us closer together, new technology is just documenting how we are splitting ourselves into tribes, and casting our anger at others. We are a world in need of a savior.
“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
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month, we offer the following contribution by CM. The author—a male prisoner incarcerated in a maximum-security prison—reflects on the theme of violence against women by engaging in a close reading of 2 Samuel 13, the horrific story of Amnon’s rape of his sister Tamar.
“Tamar’s Tears” by CM
I am a 40 year old man who has been in prison for 22 years. I have met men who have committed some of the most horrific acts one could possibly imagine, and many others who were indeed falsely accused. Yet, one thing that is true for everyone in a maximum security prison is the fact that our presence on this side of the wall represents a victim on the other side of the wall; another human being, victimized by his or her fellow man, even if not the man charged.
As one who finds solace in the words written in the Bible, I turn to the text of scripture to discover a way to make sense of this experience and grasp this dynamic relationship. This interplay between perpetrator and victim. The workings of the mind that grants one the proverbial green light to move forward and alter another’s peace.
When I read Luke 16:1-13, I am forced to think about the state of American politics today, where we find certain political families who have never once planted a crop, offered a legitimate service, traded a single good at market nor invented or assembled one widget. Yet somehow they were able to amass a fortune worth hundreds of millions of dollars. An impossibility for a career in public service, making it more than obvious that they are selling the favors of their positions much like the steward in this reading. These sorts are always in the press, going form one scandal to the next, lying their way to higher and higher offices, with no end in sight.