His name is not known, his words have never been forgotten. The penitent, remorseful prisoner, calls out to another: “Jesus, remember me.”
There are many kinds of prison, not only the ones with high fences, cameras, bars and locks. People can feel trapped by circumstances, pressurised by demands, locked down by fear and limited by lack of opportunity.
Maybe the prisoner's cry voices something we all want, to be thought of from time to time, to be seen as the person we are, to be remembered.
Prisoners Week is a time to remember all who are affected by crime: people in prison, people who have been hurt by the actions others, those who work in prison, families and the wider communities in which we live.
You are remembered even if you are behind a locked door.
You are remembered in prayer because we understand it still hurts.
You are remembered for your patience and care.
If this brief encounter is anything to go by then we can remember too that forgiveness can be received, healing can begin and we can have a better future.
The National Launch Service for Prisoners Week is at 18.30 on Monday 21st November 2016 in St Margaret’s, Drip Road, Stirling FK9 4UA, followed by refreshments. The Service is ecumenical and all are welcome.
On this website www.prisonersweek.org.uk you’ll find Prisoners Week information, a calendar of events, details of organisations that offer help and advice, discussion ideas, reflections, and worship resources which include prayers from the Christian and Islamic Faiths. In every prison Chaplains and those working with them offer spiritual care and the means by which people can explore and practise faith.
Prisoners Week is an initiative of the Churches that aims to stimulate discussion, highlight concerns and share hope. The full story of the thief on the cross can be found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 23, verses 33-43.
"What the Lord requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God." Micah 6:8
"Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them." Hebrews 13:3
The Prisoners Week Prayer
Lord, you offer freedom to all people.
We pray for those who are held in prison.
Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist.
Support with your love: prisoners, their families and friends,
prison staff, chaplains and all who care.
Heal those who have been wounded by the activities of others,
especially the victims of crime.
Help us to forgive one another, to act justly, to love mercy,
and walk humbly together with Christ
in his strength and in his Spirit,
now and every day. Amen.