This morning I visited a young man in the Tarrant County Correctional Facility in Fort Worth, Texas. When I arrived at the appointed booth, I felt the urge to ask the young man about his crime. Then I remembered the words of Jesus in Matthew 25. “I was in prison and you came to me.” Jesus does not say anything about guilt or innocence in this declaration of incarnation with those who are in prison. I mentally botched the execution of love. So, I decided to pull my question and just sit with the young man for a while. In these moments, the jail became my church and I felt the presence of the living God. It was a moment of intense spirituality and love. I realized that the image of God in front of me was helping me to know the image of God within.
In Oklahoma today, Jesus was in prison and nobody gave a shit. Jesus was brought into the Oklahoma death chamber as numerous witnesses looked on and nobody gave a shit. Jesus was given the opportunity to say any final words and nobody gave a shit. Jesus was sedated then given the second and third drugs and nobody gave a shit. After some time, the physician observed that Jesus’ vein was blown and that he was not receiving the lethal drugs and still nobody gave a shit. The execution was botched…Jesus later suffered a heart attack and died and nobody gave a shit.
When will somebody start giving a shit about the executed Jesus that declares…”I was in prison and you did not come to me”?
Courtney Lockett is no saint…but neither are we.
Stephanie Nieman was Lockett’s victim. Now Lockett is ours.
When will we love?
The very incarnation of Jesus is calling out to us to love our neighbor as our self…to see the image of God in all of God’s children…and end the death penalty.
I demand that the people of God put down the syringes and open up your hearts.
Stop botching the execution of love!