Prisoner at Peace

Friday, June 13

6-13By E.J. Chappelle of Rosharon, Texas, USA

I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!

—John 16:33 NRSV

I’ll call him Casey. He broke the law and expected a penalty. However, state prosecutors asked for, and received a much longer sentence than required. He then gave everything he had left to lawyers, who let his appeals expire unheard. Casey was far too old to survive his sentence.

All the same, Casey remained positive and put his time to good use, taking up a craft and becoming good at it. He took courses to earn a college degree and was unfailingly generous with his time and resources. Casey never spoke a bitter word over his fate. He studied enough law to write his own habeas corpus petitions (a US determination of whether a person can be detained), and he finally won a high court order for a correct and fair sentence.

The trial court refused to act. So, Casey spent several more years pursuing a writ of mandamus (a duty and not a matter for the official’s discretion). Suddenly, the state of Texas scheduled him for release almost eight years after his rightful sentence would have ended.

Rather than sink into despair or rage over what he felt was harsh indifference and discrimination of the justices, Casey peacefully made the best of what was left for him. He persisted in behaving the right way to enjoy as calm and fulfilling a life as possible while still pursuing his hope for freedom.

Casey left prison with the same dignified and peaceful manner as when he entered. He now serves as a powerful example to anyone who may feel wronged or helpless. He turned his other cheek in a positive direction.

Prayer for Peace Soften our hearts, Lord, that we may forgive injustices. Help us respond in ways that allow for reconciliation and healing. May we respond by sharing Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Healing for Broken Spirits Begin with quiet prayer. Ask God to help you discern some “sore places” in the body of Christ and in God’s creation. Become aware of people who feel separated, wounded, or left out. Reflect on or write a short journal entry of healing words to at least one person who comes to mind. Ask God for words that will touch this person’s broken spirit like healing ointment. Keep this person in your heart and prayers today and act on any ideas that come to bring blessing and wholeness.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will respond peacefully to actions that hurt.

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