Mid Week Musing
Rob and I will be heading over to Luther Memorial Lutheran tonight at 5:30 for supper and staying to worship afterward. Not having to fix supper on Wednesday in Lent is a help. Being able to worship in other sanctuaries is even better, since ministers in particular don’t get many chances to worship outside our own churches.
The theme this year comes from the story in Matthew 25 in which Jesus blesses the followers who cared for him through their care for neighbors who were hungry, homeless, poor, sick or in prison. I was assigned the last slot, the one about those who are in prison. I been thinking about how to approach the word “prison.” I could concentrate on actual prisoners. The United States has 4.4 percent of the world's population, but a quarter of the world's prisoners. Americans are locked up for crimes—from writing bad checks to using drugs—that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. We also keep people in prison longer than other nations do. So the sermon could look at the forces that have led us as a nation to be so prison-prone.
But there are many other kinds of prisons, some of which I have spent time in. There is the prison of small-minded-ness. The prison of limited experience of the world beyond our borders. The prison of needing other’s approval, or the far more terrifying prison of living with someone it is dangerous to upset or annoy. There is the prison of only associating with people whose ideas do not challenge yours at all, and the prison of self-consciousness, which puts you at the center of a universe that is in fact not concerned with you at all. The metaphors go on and on.
Because Lent is essentially about liberation, looking at the prisons around us can be fruitful in many ways. If you have thoughts to share, just get in touch. Meanwhile, join me in walking the world thinking about freedom in new ways.
Scripture Readings for the week:
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16