Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Helpers of prisoners: All part of the body!

The Apostle Paul says it better than I can.

HFP team members sometimes hear questions about overlap of agencies and ministries.

We’ll be the first to admit that there are wonderful organizations in Michigan working on judicial reform through new legislation. They work, they discuss, they lobby. God bless them. We need them.

But they don’t help Anthony, who right now is trying to find and connect with a son who was born just after he entered prison, and who is now 21 years of age.

There are wonderful groups, many of them in church settings, who study mass incarceration, criminal justice issues, judicial reform, restorative justice and other similar matters. They meet, they discuss, they hold retreats, they pray. God bless them. We need them.

But they don’t have anyone to sit at Bobby’s side as he meets with a Parole Board member. After 40+ years behind bars, Bobby doesn’t have family or friends anymore.

There are outstanding Bible study programs, local and national, that strive to convince prisoners that Jesus not only loves them, but wants them as followers. God bless them. We need them.

But they don’t have anyone to help Annalise, who can’t read or write, in filling out her application form as she appeals to the Governor to commute her sentence.

There are amazing reentry resources doing their best to help inmates through the trauma of leaving prison and entering a free society. God bless them. We need them.

But they don’t have anyone to advocate for appropriate medical treatment for David, who is struggling with a terminal illness. He’s frightened, in pain, fears dying, and feels alone.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Each has a niche, but somebody's gotta be down in the trenches. That's who we are. That's where we are.

Says St Paul:

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable…But God has so composed the body…that there may be no division…but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. Weaker? Possibly. Indispensable? Definitely!

May we all work together, suffer together, rejoice together!


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