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Speaking to the Soul: From Prison to Temple

Speaking to the Soul: From Prison to Temple

Week of Proper 14, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 89:1-18 (morning) // 89:19-52 (evening)

Judges 12:1-7

Acts 5:12-26

John 3:1-21

Yesterday afternoon, we welcomed a group of women from our local prison to the church for a service of baptism and renewal of their identity as children of God. On most Sundays, we bring the service to them: Bulletins, bread and wine, and altar flowers from that morning enter the prison in thoroughly-inspected baskets so that we can celebrate the Eucharist. But the Feast of the Transfiguration is the one time each year when these women may come to the church themselves. The service is glorious with a choir, incense, and an outdoor pool for full immersion.

In today’s second reading, some of the church’s earliest leaders also make this journey from prison to temple. Peter and the other apostles have been arrested and imprisoned by the religious authorities. But overnight, “an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said, ‘Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about his life.’” And so they move from prison to temple and continue their teaching about Jesus . . . before being arrested again.

We sometimes hear about the school-to-prison pipeline, but I hope that we can build much stronger prison-to-temple connections, just like these apostles. There may be no greater way to teach or to bear witness to the whole message of Christ’s life. Several lines from the baptismal liturgy spoke with special force during yesterday’s service: the renunciation of the powers which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God, the promise to persevere in resisting evil, the thanksgiving for the new life of grace. May our prayers never stray too far from those who most need models of forgiveness, healing, mercy, hope, and strength for new life.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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Ann Fontaine

Thanks for this piece of Good News.

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