Posts Tagged ‘hope’

When Orange is a Gift Back

iStock_000020609674SmallThe setting was familiar enough… a typical gym with polished floors, club logos painted on the high walls.

We were greeted with smiles of appreciation and offers of assistance.

It was only the state issued jumpsuits that distinguished us from them.

Our hope for the opportunity to sing at the New Mexico penitentiary had become a reality.

With the help of the prison Chaplain and the Deputy Warden, much had transpired before we could arrive at this moment, including the speedy rescheduling of our concert. (Our original date was cancelled  at the last minute due to a lockdown.)

Understandably, everyone had his or her own variety of pre-concert butterflies, not knowing what to expect in this situation.

Even still, all remained staunchly committed.

Our apprehensions soon melted away as we began our program.

As we sang our opening hymn, goosebumps erupted as I realized that we had embarked on a bridge crossing of sorts.

When a lone inmate stood in reverence during our next song, we realized that the first step had been taken from the other side.

We were singing in the Key that He had arranged.

At the start of How Great is Our God, almost all of the 40+ men stood, some with hands raised, and sang with us.

Our tear-filled eyes could barely read the music.

We sang and praised God together for one precious hour that passed by more quickly than we wanted it to.

In the beautiful words of one of our members, We weren’t just singing FOR them, we became fellow worshippers WITH them! Nothing compares to that!

Many of this group of inmates were members of a church within the prison called Heaven Bound, a group of men who believe in the transforming power of God.

It was evident that though these men are confined to a prison environment, they still hold on to hope and strength from the Lord as they live out their days behind walls.

As our concert neared the end, we invited them to share one of their songs with us.

At the keyboard, the worship leader of Heaven Bound led the men, singing and playing I Am Redeemed with every ounce of his being.

Then You look at this prisoner and say to me, “son…
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed.

I will never hear this song again without remembering this moment – a vivid illustration of how we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, equal in His eyes, and loved without reservation.

We ended the evening with full hearts and promises of continued prayers for everyone there.

The Chaplain said we were welcome back any time.

I daresay that we will eagerly await that opportunity.

What we received will remain in our hearts forever.

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am with them. ~ Matthew 18:20



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