They sang "Amazing Grace" with gusto.
A classroom full of inmates.
Fully engaged as far as I could tell, these guys seemed ready to repent and reconcile.
One of them was a lector reading the Word from St. Paul, while Psalm 53 was proclaimed by another, announcing unending trust in God.
Awesome, I thought.
Simon Peter's mother-in-law - yes, the Rock, he was married - was healed by Jesus.
When asked if any were sick, one hand went up.
When reminded that we're all sick, hands began to fly up all over the room filled with desks like we had in Saint Thomas School, decades ago, in fact, the last century.
What stuck out for them?
How Peter's mother-in-law "served when healed."
How she stooped to lift life.
Many admitted of addictions in need of recovery.
One said that addicted and attachment disorder people are the "most self-centered of all."
Heads bowed in agreement.
How true, I thought.
From experience it seemed that by their own admission, 12 steppers knew they were sick because of the need to be front and center like Adam and Eve of Genesis mythology in the first book of the Word.
Some of these men embraced Twelve Step Spirituality.
Prayers of the faithful came from deep within their hearts and need.
Nothing "canned" about these prayers.
Not at all.
For a job.
To get out of jail.
For a plan.
To find toxic-free friends.
Like that, they prayed.
After reception of holy communion they gave thanks aloud.
For Eucharist, (the Greek, "eucharistan," means thanks).
For a roof and food.
"Glory and Priase to God" chimed in with the jail roof raised it seemed with voices belting out "Amazing Grace."
And the Amen resounded and echoes still. It is true. So be it. Verdad!
I felt like we all prayed and were in need of the Savior's healing like Simon Peter's mother-in-law.
If Sunday liturgy could be so powerful, mending, repenting, and morphing.
If. . .They filed out and thanked Bill and I for leading the service again.Grateful hearts.
When you're on all four, down and out, incarcerated like St. Paul, praises pound and poke penitratingly deep, praise God and these fine inmates.
I really felt like I went to church today.
A feeling not felt often in a "cleaned up" and anaseptic kind of environment far from in need.