I love the season of Advent! Somehow, this year, the message and the longing seem stronger. At first I blamed, or credited, this feeling on age. But the more I think about it, I’m convinced that it’s the headlines of the day.
Some of the nicest, kindest, most generous people I know are behind bars.
Some of the people whose words and ways I detest the most are not only in the free world, but in high places!
And so the Advent Service by the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys was more refreshing and healing than ever. It was, in part, an escape from the madness of the world. An appreciative audience filled the pews of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven Friday evening.
In that the offering was to be taken for HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS, I was granted the privilege of making a short presentation. I told the story of how HFP helped a prisoner, suffering from sleep apnea, to finally get his CPAP breathing device…something the prison system had denied him for the past three years. It took our team 9 months, but we succeeded! Tony will sleep better, and even behind bars, his Christmas will be merrier.
After hearing my story, and hearing about HFP’s compassion for those behind bars, some people sought me after the service. A few of their comments are the reason for this short piece.
The first man: I’m the owner of a structural steel manufacturing company, and I’m doing my part. I have employed six ex-felons!
The second: I don’t care how serious the crime, we have no right to treat any prisoner in an inhumane manner!
The third: No matter how short the sentence, when the inmate gets out, life is never the same. Until we change our way of treating ex-offenders, every sentence is a life sentence!
These messages were almost as heartening to me as the Advent message! Despite all the negative things going on in our country, some people really are getting it, and are daring to speak up about it. The next step, hopefully: Doing something about it!
I love the season of Advent, and I cling to the prophecy of Isaiah as I long for the second coming of Christ, that he might…open eyes that are blind, free captives from prison and release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.