Monday, November 28, 2005

" visited me."

I don’t really plan on making these Monday posts a usual occurrence, but something happened yesterday that I want to post on.

I went with three other guys to a maximum security prison yesterday to help lead some church time. This is all a part of me trying to take Matthew 25 as seriously as I can. The first place we went is called the Annex and it’s more for guys who are getting ready to be paroled or less serious offenders. We met in basically a conference room with about 10 other guys and did communion and had a discussion about John 3.

But the thing that really hit me was that in one corner of the room was this picture painted on the cement block of Disney characters. When I first saw that it seemed so out of place to me, until I realized that it was a place for the kids when they came and visited their dads in prison and just picturing the situations when those kids would come and then have to leave and how the hearts must break during those times. I felt such pain for those guys and their families.

After the Annex, we went to the real maximum security area and had to go through all the check-in procedures. We walked up to the chapel area and there were about 40 guys in there getting ready for worship. They had a band and they played a lot of old time hymns: “Victory in Jesus,” “I’ll Fly Away,” stuff like that. It was amazing for me to think that one week previous, I’d been at the Ryman Auditorium with about 800 other Christians, worshipping in a very similar way. And I realized that God doesn’t view those two worship services as different at all. They were both His children worshipping Him. The place of them was simply different and the circumstances were. You see, the only difference I see is that the guys in the prison made bad choices and are having to live with the consequences of those decisions. The people at the Ryman could go home to their beds and wake up the next day and do the things their freedom allowed. The guys at the prison can’t, but I don’t believe that God looks at those two worship times as different at all. We create the differences. Our mistake is when we become like the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 and not the tax collector.

I was honored to be in both places, one week apart. And while I may never run sound at the Ryman again, I’ll be back at the prison.

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