Monday, October 21, 2013

Why do you go to church?

In prison yesterday. We were taking the service but I wasn't speaking just - what's the word? Facilitating? Fronting? Anyway, I did the intro, links and round-up. 

In between I sat next to a familiar face. Spends more time inside than he does out, a result of his drunk and disorderliness. Yet he loves God and knows God loves him. 

He chatters on but unfortunately I only understand about one word in ten so I do a lot of smiling and nodding. And laughing. He's a very jolly chap - when he's sober.

There was a good crowd of men in for the service. They come for all sorts of reasons: to get out of their cells, for companionship, to pass drugs to each other, and some even for the service. The amazing thing is that, whatever their reason for being there, they all listen attentively and are, in the main, well-behaved. And the chaplains tell us that they're often asked questions about what was said or the men discuss it amongst themselves, so they do really listen. And for some it does make a difference.

Some, like my neighbour, have an assurance of God's love. We may wish it would make a more apparent difference and help them to change but until they're ready to take that step we can wish as much as we like and it won't have the slightest effect.


katney said...

We did an activity with our middle school youth (12-14 year olds) called Santa/genie/wizard. It's like rock/paper/scissors. I couldn't help but think of it with your neighbor.

The message pulled from it is that God is not like Santa-keeping a list of who is naughty and nice. God loves us unconditionally when and whether we are naughty or nice.

He is not like the genie, giving three wishes and then disappearing. He is always with us and will give give give his love and support repeatedly.

And He is not like the wizard--snap of the fingers and your request comes through. He works in his own time.

(And they are also there for a variety of reasons--most commonly because Mom has signed them up and dropped them off.)

Liz said...

That's a good one, katney.

Annie said...

Ah that is lovely!