Lord, When Were You in Prison? (preview)

“Lord, when were you in prison?” we’ll ask of you one day;
and when did we go visit you, and listen well, and pray?
And when did we show mercy there (as we need mercy, too)?
As we love those in prison, Lord, we show our love to you!

When you taught love of neighbor, had you heard in your time
of one who lay beside the road, a victim of a crime?
The neighbor that you said was good brought help and wholeness, too;
may we help those who hurt so much from crimes that others do.

What made you show compassion when others shouted, “Die!”
and why did you reject the words: “An eye deserves an eye”?
How could you say, “Don’t cast your stones unless your life is pure”?
Lord, show us this is righteousness — to save and to restore.

Lord, how could you still love us, a people filled with hate,
When you had been condemned to die according to the state?
How could you cry to God, “Forgive! They don’t know what they do”?
Lord, turn us from our vengeful ways, until we love like you!

O Lord, you still are present behind each prison gate;
we pray that we may see you there in those that others hate.
And Lord, when people shout for death to settle evil’s scores,
may we, your church, seek mercy and your justice that endures.

ST. CHRISTOPHER (“Beneath the Cross of Jesus”)
Biblical References: Matthew 25:31-46; Hebrews 13:3; Luke 10:25-37; John 8:2-11; 18:1-19:42; Matthew 5:38-48; Luke 23:34; Micah 6:8
Tune: Frederick Charles Maker, 1881
Text: Copyright © 2013 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.

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