The world is loud;
turn inward to a quiet heart.
The pace of life is hectic;
slow down and be still for a moment.
You have forgotten to breathe;
take a long, slow inhale and feel your body relax with the exhale.
Busyness has stolen your focus;
clear your head and turn to God.
All at once there was such a violent earthquake that it shook the prison’s foundations. The doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. When the jailer awoke and saw the open doors of the prison, he thought the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted loudly, “Don’t harm yourself! We’re all here!”
The jailer called for some lights, rushed in, and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.He led them outside and asked, “Honorable masters, what must I do to be rescued?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your entire household.”
There was a news story a few years back about a woman who devoted herself to visiting her sister’s murderer in prison. As much as the world had given her permission to hate this young man and to even desire his death or lifelong imprisonment, she just could not do it. Her faith challenged her to consider that even this man was worthy of God’s love. It was not always easy, and she often had doubts. But she continued on.
If every person is a child of God (including the young man who had taken a life, even the guard who imprisoned Paul and Silas), then every child of God deserves forgiveness and mercy and grace. And if we ourselves cannot forgive, we can offer God’s forgiveness in the meantime.
It would have been acceptable to society if Paul and Silas had fled the jail when God threw wide the doors. But they were answering to God, and not society, and they saw in the guard someone needing forgiveness and new life.
God, grant me the ability to see the world through your eyes, so that there is no one outside your loving embrace. Amen.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
St. Patrick’s Breastplate (390-461 AD)