The Carceral System Sucks
We are in our third week in a row of Jesus’ trial, and the story is getting increasingly painful to endure. If we stick with it enough to actually take it in, to allow ourselves to feel all we feel, we might notice that – while horrific – it’s not actually all that exceptional. Jesus is getting slowly and brutally churned up by the carceral system of his day, in the same way that beloved humans are slowly and brutally churned up by the carceral system of ours. Pastor Megan explores some of those contemporary echoes in the story, lamenting our complicity and the harm experienced by each one. We visualize a “circle of grace” within which each beloved – even in the midst of violence and violation – might experience the presence of God, who knows exactly what it’s like to be humiliated, violated, chewed up, and spat out. God, have mercy.
Megan M Ramer
Narrative Lectionary, Year 4
- Cole Arthur Riley, blackliturgies, “God who knows sorrow…” prayer, https://www.instagram.com/p/Cb5HdKLOGTi/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
- Circle of Grace curriculum, Dove’s Nest, https://dovesnest.net/circleofgrace
- “Since I Been Down,” documentary about Kimonti Carter, former president and current member of the Black Prisoners’ Caucus, and founder of TEACH (Taking Education and Creating History), an innovative prisoner education program.
- Bibleworm podcast: Episode 335 – The Trial Before Pilate, Amy Robertson and Robert Williamson, Jr.
- CORRECTION: The photos mentioned from Guantanamo Bay were actually photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in 2004.
- Black Mamas Bail Out Action with SONG (Southerners on New Ground)
- “Sandra Bland did not kill herself,” Crystal A. deGregory, The Atlanta Voice, May 9, 2019.
- Harold Moss, first Black mayor of Tacoma, 1929-2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Moss
- Image: detail from Our Lady of Ferguson, by Mark Doox