HOLY HERETIC DEVOTIONAL-Nov. 29, 2016-I WAS IN PRISON AND YOU VISITED ME
Today’s devotion compiled by Rev. Brian Merritt
But we who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments. Oscar Wilde
Wilde knew what it was like to be imprisoned for living his life as an openly gay man when this was illegal. He was incarcerated for two years with hard labor. After his time in prison, broken, he published only two great works. They are his letter De Profundis and the great prison poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. The latter is based on the hanging of Charles Thomas Wooldridge for the murder of his wife. The poem begins as an account of the hanging, but soon becomes a more symbolic poem about the experiences of prison.
When it came time to publish the poem during his post incarceration exile Wilde insisted on having it published in Reynolds’ Magazine. He chose this publication because, “it circulates widely among the criminal classes – to which I now belong – for once I will be read by my peers – a new experience for me.”
It is this type of sympathy and empathy that is needed in these days of massive incarceration. We must all see those incarcerated as our peers. This is the way of Jesus.
Today’s Action: Watch this clip from Rev. Caroll Picket who was the Death Row Chaplain in Huntsville, TX
Sharing: We would love to hear your experiences with the prison system in the United States.
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Photo: John Vassos cover of Oscar Wilde’s poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”