Remember the Prisoners

Since these reflections are seasonal, I thought I'd point you to them one more time here on Christmas Eve.

If you missed them, these are two Advent and Christmas themed reflections related to the bible study I lead out at the prison. They are, in my estimation, two of the more powerful things I've shared on the blog. The two posts:
Advent: A Prison Story

Piss Christ in Prison: An Unlikely Advent Meditation
Thanks to all of you who have Tweeted or linked to these posts on blogs or on Facebook. I can't tell you how much it pleases me to see the men in prison, given where they are, having an impact upon the outside world.

And during your prayers this Christmas season please lift up those who are imprisoned.

It is a very, very hard time of year for them.

A prayer I use a lot from The Book of Common Prayer:
Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy's sake. Amen.

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6 thoughts on “Remember the Prisoners”

  1. Richard;
    I love your prison stories the most; they are very moving. I always send them to my dad, who loves them too. I am an Episcopalian and he is a fairly strict evangelical. I am liberal; he is conservative. Your prison stories provide us a means of sharing our faith, which is not always easy. Thanks and Merry Christmas.

  2. Richard, thank you so much for this post. Please let me share my story. I have a younger brother who has been serving a life sentence since 1984. His story is heartbreaking. He was a senior in college, married with a child, ready to graduate with a degree in education, wanting to go into coaching. Then it happened. He was struck with schizophrenia. He left college, his wife and child and lived on the road for a number of years, self medicating, before murdering someone who tried to help him. Because my parents were not flushed with money legal and psychiatric help was at a minimum.

    He is in prison in a southern state; I live in the Northeast. But we write every month. When his letters arrive I can tell immediately if he is taking his medication simply by handling the envelope. If it is thin with few pages, he is on his meds. If it is six, seven or eight pages of run on without punctuation, even on the margins of the paper and the inside of the envelope itself, that means he has been refusing them.

    He speaks of God in every letter. But to be honest, sometimes the difficulty in reading them and the rambling he does while not taking his medication causes me sometimes to dismiss his "God talk" as part of his mental illness. But when I make myself think about it, I like to believe that his thoughts of God are the strands of reality that pull him out of his darkest pits and allow him to take his meds again and make it one more day. He is sixty years old now. His schizophrenia, as most other families who have had to endure it will affirm, is so unfair, a demon one does not see coming. I pray his old age is a mellow time. As much as it sounds that I am arguing with God, he at least deserves that.

    Thank you.

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