Well, I can’t begin to describe what a wonderful time I had at this last Kairos weekend. It had been a year and a half since I had served a complete weekend, as during 2007 I was focused on my duties as state chair. Frankly, after 2006 serving on two Kairos weekends and attending General Convention 2006 while attending to state Kairos business and attending closings all over the state, I was tired and needed to recharge the spiritual batteries.
Kairos Prison Ministry is so definitely what God has called me to do. I so feel his pleasure when I am in the prison and exercising a ministry of listening and loving with these men. Men who have so often not known God, love, basic kindness, anyone who listened to them and cared for them without an agenda, who don’t receive visits from family, or mail, or decent food. It is amazing what just a little bit of normality coupled with Jesus Christ can do for someone’s soul and outlook.
The man sitting to the left of me at my table accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior this weekend. Lots of other miracles abounded in changes of attitude and countenance, some of the other men came to Jesus as well, and many whose faith has been broken or destroyed were restored.
I also really benefited from my own intense prayers to the Lord this weekend. Even though I pray daily, it lacks the intensity of prayers said when I am away from the world for a while.
It is also so very refreshing to see unity in the Body of Christ among Christians of so many denominations in this ministry whereas we experience such intense disunity in the Episcopal Church, precisely because we all agree on what the members of the Episcopal Church can’t.
Here is Kairos’ statement of faith:
The people of Kairos are called by God to share the love of Christ with those impacted by incarceration. Kairos encourages believers from a variety of Christian traditions to be volunteers in this Christ-filled ministry.
Kairos programs offer to prison residents, their families, and those who work with them, the opportunity to receive God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, and to grow in their faith and servanthood in Christian community.
We stand on the common ground of the following elements of faith:
We in Kairos believe:
The Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired word for our faith and our lives.
In the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
In the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ;
Friendship with God is a free gift, for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The love of Jesus Christ motivates His followers to provide food for the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger, clothes for the naked, and visits to the sick and those in prison.
In sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with all incarcerated individuals, their families and to those who work with them inside and outside the correctional institution.
If you start with the part “We in Kairos believe” and substitute the Episcopal Church for Kairos and put this in the form a resolution at General Convention, it would fail. Miserably. They’d get hung up on this Jesus being God stuff, John 3:16 as it requires belief in Jesus, and heck, they might even object to working with all incarcerated individuals, saying some should be excluded. I don’t know, but I think if a church can’t buy this simple statement of faith that gives a wide berth to all kinds of Christians to believe in different things but really focuses on the cores issues, then, well, that church is in deep trouble, and may not even be Christian anymore.
But, if the Episcopal Church could pass a statement like this, then I would have a lot fewer problems with it. I don’t know if I’ll try to do something like this in 2009.