Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Beauty & Beginnings

At our September board meeting, member Karin Wells shared a devotion that showed a grasp of the deep struggles of jail ministry. The following are excerpts.
…pastoral theology can be seen as an art that seeks to uncover and communicate the beauty of God and the creation in the face of experiences and situations that would deny both. (Emmanuel Y. Lartey) This could be a description of the experience of being incarcerated; the 'experiences and situations that deny the beauty of God and creation'. Once the women I work with begin to move through that denial, they see a glimmer of hope that change is possible and new beginnings beckon. Karin's chosen prayer so movingly described it:
…Help me to make beginnings:
To begin going out of my weary mind into fresh dreams,
daring to make my own bold tracks in the land of now;      
To begin forgiving
            that I may experience mercy;
To begin questioning the unquestionable
            that I may know truth;
To begin disciplining
            that I may create beauty;
To begin sacrificing
            that I may accomplish justice;
To begin risking
            that I may make peace;
To begin loving
            that I may realize joy.
And for Chaplain John and myself:
Help me to be a beginning for others,
            to be a singer to the songless,
            a storyteller to the aimless,
            a befriender of the friendless;
to become a beginning of hope for the despairing,
            of assurance for the doubting,
            of reconciliation for the divided;
to become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed,
            of comfort for the sorrowing,
            of friendship for the forgotten;
to become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn,
            of sweetness for the soured,
             of gentleness for the angry,
             of wholeness for the broken,
             of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth. (Ted Loder)
I am so grateful for those who understand and support this jail ministry and the work of beauty and beginnings. Peace and gratitude, Julia
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