[ABOVE—Empty cells at Alcatraz, by MarcelloRabozzi at Pixabay]
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by Matthew B. Harper • March 26, 2016 Prison Lectionary
Isaiah 55:7 – Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thought; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. …
Psalm 42:1 – As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
Romans 6:4 – Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death … so we too might walk in newness of life
Matthew 28:7 – Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “he has been raised from the dead”
All of these readings come to us from the service for the Easter Vigil, and together they sum up our faith journey.
The words from Isaiah are in a chapter that my Bible titles “invitation to an abundant life.” They are the words that invite us out of our old life of Sin, and into the life of God. We are a fallen people, and the only way back is through a proper relationship with our God. But we cannot go as we are. We cannot be with God when we love our wicked ways.
I am in constant fellowship with godly men who have been criminals of all kinds. The very foundation of their repentance and transformation is to forsake their wicked ways. There comes a day in every person’s life when they are just tired of being wrong, sinful, and alone. To give up what is wrong, and to return to the Lord, is the beginning of all good things. . . .
When we realized we are a fallen people, we turned to God; when we thirsted for God, we were filled; when we were crucified with Christ, we were resurrected to new life. In all things we have been given an unbelievable gift from the creator of all creation, and it is the only natural thing that we should go forth and proclaim this goodness to all people. If you are a Christian, how can you not want that very same thing for everyone. . . ?
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