Our friend Matthew Harper reflects on a recent thirty-day stint in solitary confinement.
Grace and Peace to you all.
Sorry I’ve been incommunicado, I spent the last thirty days in segregation. Someone had been urging our band to do the Humble Pie song “Thirty Days in the Hole,” but we put it off. I guess I should have played the song. Instead I did the thirty days.
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
“Relief of Judgment”
This psalm was initially a prayer for the young King Solomon when he replaced his father David on the throne. In this psalm, there’s an outline of how he is to govern the kingdom of Israel. The poor are to be rightly judged, the children of the needy are to be saved, and the oppressor needs to be broken (v. 4).These are all things that Christ exercised in his ministry on Earth. The first two come easy to followers during the holiday season and forgotten even faster when it’s over. What about breaking the oppressor in pieces?
by Keith Wiglusz
Christmas in Prison: Bears For Christmas !
I think of this more than anything during the Christmas season while incarcerated.
My first Christmas in prison my two daughters were ages 8 and 9. I was very active in their lives before I fell and we were very close especially at Christmas time. This very first year of incarceration they came to see me. “Seeing me behind razor wire for them would be harsh and sad,” is all I had going through my head. My wife and I had made the decision to stay together when I fell and see if we could actually stay together. I had my doubts but she insisted that I at least should see my girls no matter what. Now the big test was upon me on this very first Christmas day with them walking into a prison with all the razor wire only to see their dad in tan scrubs.
“Orange Crush is in the building!”
Is the call I hear at dawn’s break.
“Awake, awake, tactical is here to take!”
A thousand boots stomping, hundreds of
As they invade the cell house and raid.
by Dean Faiello
As I lined up with other prisoners in a brick passageway, six Attica guards huddled in a group, wearing blue latex gloves and gripping wooden clubs. They stared at us as we waIked in pairs through the sepulchral corridor without speaking, like Franciscan monks on their way to vespers. Heading to a Quaker meeting in the school building, I looked forward to talking with the Quaker volunteers, witnessing their compassion, learning more about Quaker tenets.
Apostolic Letters from Prison
In the book Ministry with Prisoners & Families: The Way Forward, Madeline McClenny-Sadler offers a “Letter to African American Churches Concerning the Saints Coming Home from Prison.” It uses “the hybrid style of a Pauline epistle and a scholarly article” as a call to action (140).
Inspired by her letter, several PrisonLectionary.net contributors took up the same task. The second comes to us from “AMN .”
In case you missed the first, you can find it here.
This sermon, by Matthew Harper, was read during a worship service at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Chesterfield, Virginia, on Sunday, August 14, 2016.
Prison is a terrible place. The purpose of prison is for it to be a terrible place. Where there are problems in our world our justice system seeks out the offenders and send us here. We are sent here to protect society, to punish us, and perhaps to give us space to repent and grow.
Prison is full of people. Each prisoner is a person full of good and bad, carrying wounds and inflicting them. We too have our hopes and dreams, as well as sorrows and regrets. Some of us are redeemed, some not, and all struggle with addictions, pride, loneliness, and sorrow. We are beautiful and amazing, and also completely messed up. We are all too human.
Continue reading the full sermon on St. David’s website here.
Apostolic Letters from Prison
In the book Ministry with Prisoners & Families: The Way Forward, Madeline McClenny-Sadler writes
“What would the apostle Paul do if he heard about the mistreatment of brothers and sisters who return to our congregations and communities after being released from prison? I think we know exactly what Paul would do. Paul would write a letter!” (140)
Thus, McClenny-Sadler offers a “Letter to African American Churches Concerning the Saints Coming Home from Prison.” It uses “the hybrid style of a Pauline epistle and a scholarly article” as a call to action (ibid.)
Inspired by her letter, several PrisonLectionary.net contributors take up the same task. The first comes to us from “EB .”