Take a journey through the world of crime and corrections this Lent by reflecting on the experiences of prisoners and those who are affected by their convictions. Click To Tweet

Background

Christians have long been associated with acts of charity on behalf of prisoners. And Easter has long been associated with their (often miraculous) release. In fact, many classical writers chronicle incidences of “chains and shackles of prisoners burst[ing] asunder and ly[ing] broken on the ground,” and “locks springing open, chains falling off and prisons opening themselves” on the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection. Neither was it uncommon for constitutions of that period to provide clemency to prisoners on Easter, “lay[ing] aside the chains and properly abolish[ing] the occasion for prison that is dark with filth.”

The symbolism of these extraordinary events animated early prison ministry as Christians prayed that inmates were protected from despair while awaiting their fate and collected alms as ransom for their freedom if they were locked up for an unpaid debt.

Lenten Cross Project

Since 1991, Chattanooga Endeavors’ Lenten Cross Project has been the occasion for thousands of faithful Christians to continue an ancient tradition of prayer and almsgiving for the sake of those suffering in the shadow of prison. Won’t you join us this year by registering below to pray for someone who is presently in prison.

The project is extremely simple. When you register you will be given the name of someone who is currently in prison. We ask that you remember that person in your prayers during the 40 days leading to Easter. Each day, we will send you a short personal reflection about some aspect of incarceration along with a Bible passage. These reflections are from people who we have met over the years through our work and are intended to make your experience with this project more relatable and to broaden your perspective of our system of criminal justice in America.

Simple

Sample Reflection
When you’re thinking with the mind of poverty, which is the mind of desperation, crime doesn’t really seem like a bad choice. I remember reasoning with myself, “I can continue to live in this filth and misery or I can choose to lie, cheat and steal my way out.” If I got caught and did time in prison, how much worse could it really be? After all, I was already living in the slums of society.

Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.
Psalm 142:6-7

Rewarding

This project is a wonderful way to remember our Savior’s journey to the cross and all that our redemption cost Him.  It is also an excellent way to link us with others who like ourselves need God’s forgiveness and strength to make a fresh start.

I think that this project humanizes the problem of crime by putting a face on the prisoner who often times is hard to see in the midst of the incredible figures associated with the mass of people behind bars in America

Rev. Bruce Spangler

Almsgiving

If you would like to participate in the tradition of almsgiving with your daily prayer, we suggest the modest amount of a nickel a day, a dime a day, a quarter a day, or a dollar a day for the 40 days of Lent — $2, $4, $10, or $40. Contributions are for Chattanooga Endeavors to continue its mission of second chances including this Lenten Cross Project. Instructions will be included in an email with the name or names that you have requested to pray for.

To Participate

To participate in our Lenten Cross Project as an individual or group, please click on the button below.