By Dr. Romney Ruder, President of Lifeline Global
Easter has always been my favorite time of year. The 40 days leading up to Easter offer time to praise and worship the Lord, to reflect on His ministry, to dig deeper into Scripture, and grow our relationship of prayer. Yet, Lent is also meant to be a time for repentance.
I was moved recently by a devotional piece entitled, Easter Sunrise and the Risen Inmate, by Dr. Harold Dean Trulear of Howard University. Trulear makes the point that if there were ever a time to remember the words of Christ, “I was in prison and you visited me”, it would be during this period of Lent.
He says, “The Easter lens well fits any view of incarceration. After all, when Jesus Christ died on the cross, he was an inmate…we overlook the fact that the body which breathed its last before burial belonged to a prisoner.”
For some of us, it is difficult to imagine that God is as apt to hear the Easter prayers of the incarcerated as he is to recognize the voices of praise coming from our homes, churches, choirs, or cathedrals.
I can imagine most of us have encountered our own sense of prison over the last year as a result of the pandemic. While some parts of the country are opening up, most incarceration facilities remain on lockdown. One Chaplain said that their institution was still on cell lockdown and the men could not even meet in a classroom to watch our Malachi Dad videos.
When you read this, our Lenten fasts will be near the end. I hope that you will use this as a time to pray for Lifeline Global and our ministry, for more engagement from behind bars, as the restrictions of isolation loosen. Pray too for increased participation from the church, to reach out in a tangible way.
Hear the words of Dr. Trulear, “Preaching seldom reaches the pain felt by the incarcerated and their families. The separation traumatizes, the anger and disappointment of those left behind. Many incarcerated parents long to see their children; some allow shame to hold their children at bay”.
Lifeline Global’s curriculum and programming aim to change this. But to make change, we need participation from you, the church. Let this Easter mark the launch of Spiritual prosperity among those affected by incarceration.
(This article first appeared in the Spring 2021 Lifeline Global Newsletter)