Prison and Jail
Liturgy for Working with Incarcerated People
Call to Worship
From Chalice Worship, 86
Come now to worship God with justice and truth.
Let us speak the truth to one another, rendering true judgments that make for peace.
Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.
Teach us to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the helpless.
Hear God’s demand and promise: Maintain justice, and do what is rights, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.
Isaiah 61:1 (NRSV)
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
“Worth Fighting For” Brian Courtney Wilson
No Regrets by Jeffrey Price
This is my life, the compilation – The 66 books of revelation. The truth, the last, the horror -my success coming in numerical order. Access is granted, nothing is forbidden-every page is exposed, nothing is hidden. My mind Filled with imageries-forward and back thoughts of past memories. A collection that has reached its totality-A cohesive picture that I’m living through reality. I keep pessimism separated from my thoughts – I never retrace the steps that I’ve walked. One thing I know with assurity -Is accepting the things I can’t change is a sign of maturity. This level of humility took a while to acquire- Now that I’ve reached this plateau of success I’m seeking to go higher. I’m moving forward with guided aggression -allowing nothing or no one to impede my progression. I know the results for not behaving prudish- Disappointment comes to those behaving foolish. So, I think wise with channeled ambition-Moving beyond stagnant positions-Improving my economic and social condition. Seeking all opportunities to excel-Pursuing all avenues to advance and prevail-never looking back on past issues to dwell vowing to succeed and never fail. So, when the lakes and oceans are void of water- when the seven biblical plagues unfold in sequential order. When mountains fall and are reduced to rubble-When human beings are forced to live in bubbles. When star’s lose luster and start to dim-When fish starts to fly and birds start to swim. When reality becomes what I’m dreaming-when logic ceases to have meaning. Where seals are closed never to be open – my chains are connected never to be broken. When God tabulates my sins and calculates my worth– when I close my eyes and return to the dirt. I’ll have no regrets.
Song: From 16 bars – Lay My Burden Down – Garland Carr
Hymn: “Who is My Neighbor”
Poem: Maya Angelou, Caged Bird
64 The Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other; and there you shall serve other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. 65 Among those nations you shall find no ease, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a languishing spirit. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you; night and day you shall be in dread, with no assurance of your life. 67 In the morning you shall say, “If only it were evening!” and at evening you shall say, “If only it were morning!”—because of the dread that your heart shall feel and the sights that your eyes shall see.
Rehumanizing/Humanizing – Work with the “Offender”
John 8: 3-9
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.[a] 9 When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
The Call for Prison Ministry
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’