A friend named Pete and myself were kindly welcomed by officers and men. As usual we knew a few of the guys but most were in this division/dorm passing through (often extremely slowly) to court dates, possible release or prison sentences.
Prayers, songs (including a couple classic Christmas tunes) were sung, lots of clapping and outward responses.
They always get excited, ask questions and love it when I do blues-based songs on one of my cigarbox guitars, which was the only thing I brought, along with a harmonica for a “special” I did for ’em. Super response!
One of the bros asked if he could sing a song he wrote (acappella) and I said “Absolutely!”
It was a sweet song of praise and whoah… the pipes this bro has… God blessed us with one of the best singers I’ve heard for some time 🙂 He asked if he could sing one more at the end of the night and again, YES. So good!
I had been invited to also bring the message and because we’d just passed the 2nd Sunday in Advent I spoke on Luke chapter two -the birth of Jesus, and focused on Him and the shepherds.
Volumes have been written and preached on those sheep herders but in the end, they were (like the apostles Jesus hand-picked) “low-life” peeps, they smelled bad, spent long and lonely hours in fields facing wolves and all sorts of weather. The rough life and elements, long night vigils spent smack in the doorways of makeshift pens was anything but upper-class respectable.
So to whom does God choose to reveal the birth of the Messiah? Low-class nobodies who spend the bulk of their time with dumb animals.
In and through a poor and very young virgin girl He works one of the most astonishing miracles (and most heaven and hell shaking as well) then picks these outlier men who had never in their lives expected it to see an angel army and hear the voice of one of them proclaiming the Who, what and precisely where He was doing this eternity-changing act. The wealthy, powerful, rulers, politically positioned? Naaah. He revealed His plan of salvation to a young girl and these poor shepherds out “in the sticks”!
What did they do after being fully freaked out at all they saw and heard? Went and checked it all out -and found all was exactly as they had been told.
How many lessons are there to be learned from people we may ascribe little or no value to? How many of us have been given new, amazingly changed (for the extreme better!!!) lives due to paying attention when God showed up in our life regardless of how He did so?
Both young and older, mostly minority people of color behind bars very often in my experience -come to revelation of the reality of the Savior quicker, deeper and often with a much greater real-world response over their remaining lifetime in comparison to those who believe they and not these have great worth and value.
God continues to use the base, the simple, the “scum of the earth” to confound the wise. He brings the mountains low and the valleys up. The incarcerated are some of the most truly Christian, indeed ever for the smallest blessings, grateful people I’ve met.
NO ONE is without value in His eyes. No one.
If you think of yourself as worthless or with very little value on this earth I’m telling you your heavenly Father completely disagrees with you. Seek Him, follow Jesus and in time you will see more than the skies open up to what He desires to do in your life!
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn