But there are groups of people who don't have an opportunity for all that. They might have an all too brief visit with a dedicated family member or two, but no opportunity to worship with them. Their meals will be the same old same old and little more than fuel. They will face a day the same as hundreds or even thousands of others. They will spend the day behind bars and barbed wire.
But there are other folks, moved to compassion and action, who commit their Easter to minister in prisons. Some work through Prison Fellowship. (See Resources Links above.) Local church groups and chaplains come to jails and prisons offering hope and fellowship. I thank God for each and every one of them.
One of the biggest problems for inmates is boredom, mixed with anxiety and depression. If those of us who know a better way to live can't get the attention of these folks now, when will that happen?
When you write or visit with an incarcerated loved one please let go of the need to "instruct" and replace it with the power sharing a life well-lived. Let go of the need to fix and instead offer testimony of the power of God's love and desire to free your loved one from past wrongs. Let go of anger toward a legal system that is in dire need of reform and assure your loved one that God's grace is available to them right now and right "here" wherever "here" is.
And if you can not yet do that, then spend some time yourself in conversation with the God that loves you and your loved one, is present with you both and has a plan for you both.
We cannot push a string, but we can be living proof of the power of forgiveness and redemption and renewal and that shines light into the darkest of places.
Loving and present Lord, thank you for the men and women with hearts for ministry to those in jails and prisons. Thank you for worship services, Bible studies, mentors, and volunteers teaching life skills. Thank you for folks who write letters of hope and truth. Thank you for people around the world who pray for all those in prisons: inmates, correctional officers, administrative staff and wardens that they may know the warmth and light of your love in a place swimming in lost dreams, lost hope and despair. Thank you for the honorable and brave folks who embrace a relationship with you and let it shine into prisons and jails around the world. AMEN