In a Prison Cell at Night

Oct 06, 2017

by Rev. Steve Peterson, past board president

I wonder what inmates in prison think about the nights they lie awake in their cells in the wee hours of the night.  Maybe there are thoughts of that day and what was life-giving for them and also what wasn’t.  In prison there are ups and downs and highs and lows like everywhere else, well not exactly like everywhere else.  In prison, in one’s daily interactions with other inmates, guards and staff there are people who tend to bring your spirits up and those who can be pretty effective in tearing them down.

Maybe in that cell in the middle of the night are feelings from the day passed of discouragement or smoldering anger and resentment, or helplessness.  Of course this can happen in the bed in the middle of the night of the most successful person lying in a king size bed in a gated community or anywhere, but certainly in prison there must often be a deep loneliness – missing family and friends and thinking about relationships that might be different now if their path had not been a path that got them to this point of being alone in a prison cell alone in the night, far from so much that is now longed for. 

 Because of the establishment of PCA congregations in prison there may also in the middle of the night be warm memories of a community of Christians, fellow inmates and fellow Christians from the outside who came together in worship with them that day, right there in prison. 

Maybe all alone in the middle of the night that community of faith is still warming their hearts – as they remember a worship service filled with heartfelt music, a worship that brought connection and encouragement through sharing of God’s peace, and the feeling of deep peace that came from the sharing together the bread and cup of forgiveness and new life.  

And maybe they remember Jesus speaking words of unconditional love for them through the lips of their pastor and other sinners living free in the love of Christ.  And maybe they feel a little less alone, a little more human, maybe even treasured as God’s own child.

Category: Peace

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