Prisons Week 2019
Prisons week is 13 – 19 October 2019. A member of the congregation put together Information and Prayers and a display. These can be found at below and on the following link in PDF Format. At the bottom are 2 photographs of display.
More information on Prisons week can be found here prisonsweek.org
The Ripple Effect
Throw a stone into still water and you’ll create a big splash that extends from the chaotic centre until the dying ripples are felt at the water’s edge. Crime causes chaos, a stone hurled into the still water of peoples’ lives; a tsunami for the victim, the waves and ripples felt by their family; but also by the perpetrator and their family. The ripples reach out into the wider community through the fear of crime and impact the lives of those involved in the criminal justice system.
There are currently 7,093 men, women and children imprisoned in the nine penal establishments found within the Lichfield Diocese; the law has taken its course in dealing with the crimes committed by these men, women and children, these people made in the image of God
John (chapter 4) tells us that Jesus was once confronted with a ‘criminal’ about to be sentenced. A woman was brought before Him who had broken the religious laws regarding adultery and the mandatory sentence was death by stoning. ‘What do you say?’ the religious authorities challenged Him.
Jesus implicitly agreed; the law did indeed require her to be stoned. After all, Jesus spoke elsewhere that He had not come to abolish the law (Matthew 5.17). He did not condone her actions, just as crime today cannot be condoned and must be addressed by the law.
Jesus said ‘…neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.’ (John 8.11)
Jesus condemned the sin but not the sinner. Our society condemns the crime, through the criminal justice system; but do we also condemn the criminal, write them off as ‘no good’, these men, women and children made in the image of God?
Jesus cut to the heart of the matter in His attitude toward the woman caught in adultery; His attitude embodied James’ call (2.13) that ‘mercy triumphs over judgement.’
During Prisons Week we have the opportunity, along with the wider Body of Christ in this Diocese and across the nation, to create a very different ripple effect from that which is created by crime. As we participate in the reflection and prayer within the Prisons Week leaflet, then the stone that we can ‘throw’ is Christ the ‘Living Stone’ (1 Peter 2. 4-6).
The ripples that He creates are those of grace, peace and forgiveness. What can we do to contribute to Jesus’ mission to ‘bring freedom to the captives’, to those both inside prison and in our wider community?
Photographs of the display (click on photo to see in detail)