Epiphany Sunday

This Sunday is Epiphany Sunday, when we celebrate the arrival of the Magi to the manger in Bethlehem. Traditionally, we celebrate the Prison Ministry Project on Epiphany Sunday because when the Magi arrive, they bow down in recognition of a power greater than the secular power they represent. The greater power of the baby in the manger is the power we claim when we go to prison. 
 
This is also Communion Sunday, and there is a story that brings the Prison Ministry Project, the Magi and communion together. Several years ago we were going to celebrate communion inside the walls of the prison at Fox Lake. The three women who were going to lead the service arrived at the gate with a loaf of bread to use in the sacrament. The guard at the gate said they could not bring the bread into the prison because it was food, and food from the outside was not allowed inside the walls. The women tried to explain that the bread was for worship. The guard was insistent, but he had no idea who stood before him, one of the women was a retired deputy sheriff, one was an Olympic volleyball player and one had worked for the state for thirty years and had dealt with men like this guard her whole career. They were not going to move. Finally, the chaplain was called and the women and the bread were allowed inside.
 
There are several lessons about going to prison, celebrating communion and the Magi in this story. Going inside prison walls is not easy. We celebrate the courage of these women to speak truth to power and not be moved from what they were called to do. And we celebrate the power in that loaf of bread that so terrified the prison. It is the same power that the Magi saw in the manger.
 
Our guest preacher this Sunday will be Susan Heneman who has been one of the foundational volunteers in the PMP. But Susan is not alone. Over the years, hundreds of volunteers, inside and outside the walls, have made this Ministry of Presence possible in 20 prisons and jails around the state.
 
Your faith in the righteousness of this work has made the past twelve years possible. Thank you!
~ Jerry Hancock

Posted on January 3, 2018 at 12:25 pm in Featured Content.

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