For all the promises
of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
2 Corinthians 1:20
This morning I felt God’s presence. Even
before the worship service began, when the congregation’s leaders and choir members gathered together in a nearby classroom
as we do every Sunday morning before church to pray and call upon the Lord, we sensed that a powerful force was with us. The room felt energized. Even our individual
prayers and our heartfelt pleadings to the Lord sounded louder than usual, as if we were a bunch of hungry baby birds crying
for our parents to come and drop food into our mouths.
And shortly after this, when we left the classroom and as we entered the chapel as the
place was filling with men, this same presence seemed to follow us. It stayed
throughout the service too.
As for myself, even though I’ve been going through a period of physical and emotional
exhaustion, today I was uplifted. I still feel tired and drained of energy, of
course. But I know that deep within my soul something has changed for the better.
Actually every part of our service appeared to come alive. From the congregational prayer at the beginning of our meeting, to the Scripture readings, and on to the
choir’s singing and the preacher’s sermon, everything seemed energized and anointed. It was a blessed time.
June 27, 2006
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we ought also to love one another.
Recently I received a letter from a friend who told me that he’s troubled because
those who attend the church he belongs to don’t seem to display genuine love and concern. He lamented that many in his congregation seem remote and unfriendly.
So when I answered his letter, I told my friend that it’s to bad he cannot attend
the fellowship I belong to which consists of a chaplain and several dozen prisoners.
For if he could attend, I told him he’d be pleasantly surprised to find a lot of love here.
We’re always embracing one another with hugs and handshakes. We likewise try to look out for and help each other, within the limitations of the correctional setting,
Nevertheless, if I could boast about the men in my
congregation, these guys are doing what every church member is supposed to do; they’re showing Christian love.
And as for why the prison’s chapel is a place where love and compassion abound,
it is simply because, as Jesus said, “He who has been forgiven of much, loves much.
While to who little is forgiven, loves little” (Luke 7:36-50)
Most probably, therefore, we who are incarcerated for crimes, after having experienced
God’s forgiveness, are perhaps better able not only to love the Lord, but to love our neighbors too.