I took Thursday off last week. It was to be a quiet day before a Kairos Marathon program and as it turns out, the place was locked down all day as a result of a stabbing early in the morning. In the midst of the Marathon I was trying to respond to some of the issues arising out of Thursday and then there was another man in crisis in the Reception Unit... it never stops! And I love it.
Today I had occasion to connect with a former inmate who I did a fair bit of work with during his time at Springhill. We talked for quite a while - and after a bit he agreed to take on a piece of volunteer work in his area... and as the conversation drew to a close, he said in a soft voice, a voice that has know the hoarseness of pain, "I loves you Lloyd." With tears in my eyes I could barely choke out, "I love you too _______."
This ministry sucks the life out of me and fills me back up again. It brings me to tears and takes me to depth of laughter that I have never known. It connects me to the brokenness of others and the brokenness within my own self - and calls us to wholeness.
Also today I had opportunity to sit with a man who has been incarcerated for 30+ years. For well over 40 minutes he asked me about the General Council meeting and some of the decisions that were made. He calls himself a member of the "socialist church" and was quite proud of the stand the United Church has taken in regard to Israel/Palestine and intrigued by the changes to the United Church Crest.
Yesterday I had a visitor in leading worship, an African Canadian man from East Preston. He brought a simple message of the power of God to change - as God changed Saul - so God can change us.
I was overjoyed. There were 28 men in the Chapel and 12 of them were African Canadians. As the visitor finished his message, I engaged the men in a brief conversation about the fear the early Church had of Saul - and how we continue to live out of that fear even today: not trusting those who are "different" whether by looks of beliefs... or some other attribute.
it was a very positive afternoon and it was such a gift to see those men share the peace at the end of the service and to know that in some small ways bridges had been built.
The rest of the week will be full - and on Friday Zack and I head to Portland Maine for a weekend get away before he has to return to school and I settle back into work for the fall.
On the Sabbath Road...