Students gathered several weeks ago for a vigil marking the execution of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia. Those gathered lit candles, prayed, and sang. But mostly we stood together to mark the execution of an individual whose innocence was still in question.
Jesus came proclaiming release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom from oppression (Luke 4:18). His proclamation was not simply an other-worldly goal, but a vision of the kingdom of justice and peace that we hope and strive toward on earth today. Our service to Christ must include service to those who experience deep need–for community, for God, for justice–including those imprisoned. As Jesus proclaimed in Matthew’s gospel,
“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for 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, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then 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? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And 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.” (Matthew 25:34-40)
A friend of Westminster Fellowship and a member at First Presbyterian Church of Durham has taken this call to serve those imprisoned seriously. As she fights for justice, she also commits to sending a Christmas Card to every death row inmate in North Carolina. This practice emerged after a report on NPR’s The Story detailing death row prisoners. One inmate recounted, “I felt forgotten by everyone. There was a year where I didn’t even get a Christmas card.” This week at Westminster Fellowship, we will be a part of this service by making Christmas cards for death row inmates in North Carolina.
Join us at 7:30pm in the Chapel Basement Lounge on November 13th to decorate cards and pray for those who will spend the holidays behind bars this year.