Today I had the distinct privilege of visiting someone in jail. The Jackson County Detention Center to be exact. Although I have visited him before, this time was a bit eerier.
After stowing away my valuables in a locker, I proceeded through the metal detector and walked alone in a long, foreboding hallway until I found the elevator and rode up to the visiting floor.
Once on that floor, I followed the signs to a visiting room that was divided from the inmates by cinder blocks and glass. Since my visit was not during scheduled visiting hours, I was the only person on my side of the windows on the entire floor. The visiting room was dark and I couldn’t find a light switch. I could see some bunks and chairs on the other side of the glass, but there was no one in sight. In addition, there was a high pitched alarm sounding off that I could tell was coming from the other side.
I walked into the visiting room a few times and then walked out, not sure what to do. Since I was the only one on the entire floor and the visiting room was dark, I began to wonder what if….I am sure if someone jumped out to scare me, I would have screamed :). Finally, a light came on and I noticed a guard on the other side of the glass. When he saw me, he made the connection and soon I was able to begin my visit.
The inmate told me about how God had protected him multiple times from danger. As a result of this incarceration, he has grown much closer to the Lord. He attends a church service every Sunday, Bible study several times a week and prayer circle every day. He is facing two life sentences, but hoping to walk out a free man after three and a half years. We ended our visit with each of us praying and then he returned to his cell and I headed towards the exit.
I have heard his story and have no idea what will happen. I do know that when I finally made it down the elevator, gathered my belongings and walked out the door, the coming ice storm was a welcome alternative to spending the night in jail.
As I reflect on this experience, I have concluded there is something incredibly amazing about freedom.
Freedom is worth celebrating when you come out of a jail, it is also worth celebrating in your spiritual journey. As Christians, we have been set free from our sins. However, if we are not careful we can create a new sort of bondage to other Christian’s expectations.
So what happens when our application of Scripture differs from a fellow Christians application of Scripture?
This Sunday, rain, ice, sleet or shine, we will cover that topic. It may be at 1717 McGee or it may be on facebook live, but either way, Pastor Dave will be opening our series on Romans 14-15. The title of his sermon is, “Differences without Division” from Romans 14:1-8. He will be speaking about tensions that arise due to differing opinions with regard to our Christian life.
If the weather permits, I hope you will be able to attend, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate with travel, I really hope you will tune into the facebook live video stream.