Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Free on the Inside

Brother Victor died last Tuesday night, apparently after suffering a seizure. He was a gentle, somewhat quiet man who had been at the Fully Alive Bible Study at the Auburn Correctional Facility as long as I have been attending. The thing I most remember about him was his faithful service as the person who got water in a pitcher and poured it for each guest and man in the chapel. It was a much needed relief in the often hot, humid worship space. The heat in the chapel during the summer has been nearly unbearable at times - and even occasionally in winter, extraordinarily overheated and warm.

What a sad place to end your life – in prison. Yet what a joyous welcome Victor must have had coming into the presence of Jesus our Savior and friend!

I often think of the distribution of water as one of the ways the men can minister to us, rather than always being on the receiving end of our presence for prayer, praise and study. Sometimes we've seen a more mature Christian man directing a newer one in this act of service.

So last night and this evening, when I have another scrapbook project I want to be working on, I'm creating a scrapbooked scripture card to add to my collection that sits beside my prayer chair.  I've used songs and pictures and occassional stories to illustrate the meaning certain scripture has for me.  Interestingly, several have been created in response to experiences worshiping and studying with the men in the prison chapel.  It's holy ground for me, and I've learned so much from these incarcerated men, about how they have found freedom on the inside with Jesus Christ.

The scripture I'm using is Matthew 25:37&40.  There's lots of good stuff in that chapter but these verses speak to me of Victor's service -

"Lord, when did we see you...thirsty and give you something to drink?"  The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of hte least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

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