In jail last night
Last night I had the opportunity to preach at the jail here in Monroe County. It was good to get back into the swing of things in this area. I had been there multiple times before, but not in the past year and a half or so due to the fact that I was involved in youth ministry that occurred on Sunday nights. I preached about the citizenry of heaven or the world and contrasted the two as it is outlined (primarily) in Ephesians 2:2-3, 12 and Philippians 3:17-19. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and am looking forward to going back.
One thing happened that struck me. The chaplain said something to the effect of “Let’s thank God for North Baptist Church and their presence here with us.” and, naturally, I clapped as the inmates there did as well. Looking down the line of the people that were there with me from the church I noticed that none of them were clapping. Was I doing something wrong? I felt a little self-conscious about what I was doing (a topic in and of itself) and wondered if I should have stilled my hands.
Upon reflection I should have stood and shouted wildly for the chaplain wanted us to thank God Himself for moving our often-rebellious feet to prompt the inmates to worship Him. That is something to celebrate. We are trophies of His grace as His one and only Son has built this church to proclaim the Word. So, it wasn’t as if clapping at the chaplain’s request was arrogant or even a misunderstanding of what he said. In fact it is an acknowledgement of the true Source of goodness and value in our lives.