I was in Jail

This past Sunday I was in jail.  It wasn’t a permanent stay.  Rather, I had the joy and privilege of preaching at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) of Fort Worth’s protestant service.  It was a lively and joyous service.  The music was led by a great team (a contemporary group with robes over prison garb) and the singing was robust.  The praying was enthusiastic and heartfelt.  They received me well, and I was in turn truly blessed by sharing with the inmates.             I ended up at FCI preaching on a Sunday morning out of my own devotional life.  In my devotional life I became convinced that I should be engaged in more volunteer activity for those in need.  My job as a bishop was in danger of consuming me.  I am aware that in some sense as a clergy person all your work is for the Lord.  But, I think I need to be as open to volunteering in service to the hurting, homeless and hungry (whether spiritually or physically or both) every bit as much as lay people do.  I am not persuaded by clergy calling for volunteers who do not themselves volunteer to serve.  How is with you?             Out of my prayer life, I could not get the phrase, “I was in prison and you visited me” (see Matthew 25:43) out of my mind.  God led me to FCI, and I was privileged to be blessed by the Spirit’s presence.