Prisoner


“. . . a prisoner of sin.”
 

Repent, then, of this evil plan of yours, and pray to the Lord that he will forgive you for thinking such a thing as this. For I see that you are full of bitter envy and are a prisoner of sin.” (Acts 8:22-23)
It’s now been documented that we have thirteen cats of various colors and sizes hanging out around the back of the church.  This kitten managed to sneak into the church during our community Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday.  It was seen running up the hallway a couple of times but it wasn’t until Monday morning that the kitten was hungry enough to start wailing.  The kitten was very wild so getting it to come close enough to catch was impossible.  We resorted to a trap with very smelly cat food as bait.  It’s a smart cat.  Had it not been so blinded by its hunger, the kitten probably would have continued to elude our efforts.  It managed to foil our first two attempts.  However, its powerful hunger finally caused it to throw caution to the wind and we were able to trap it.  (Don’t worry.  It was taken to a good home for adoption – if it can be domesticated.)
As the world hustles and bustles with preparations for the Christmas we’re told we want, I was drawn by this kitten to think about the Christmas we need.  The only way we were able to trap this kitten was to appeal to its intense hunger.  Literally, the kitten’s hunger led to its imprisonment.  I’m drawn to consider other hungers that lead to our imprisonment.  When I was a child I remember reading the Disney version of the Pinocchio story. In that version the little boys are drawn to Pleasure Island where they’re told they can do whatever they want without adults telling them “no!”  The young boys eat all they want, they spit all they want, they basically do whatever they want all they want until . . . Suddenly each little boy begins to sprout a tail, long ears, and — they morph into little donkeys.  Then they’re whisked away to spend the rest of their lives pulling carts in the salt mines.  Their unbridled hungers or wants led to their imprisonment, which seems like the perfect way of describing how our unbridled passions can seduce us into imprisonment if we’re not aware and careful. The Christmas we’re seduced into believing we want is not the Christmas we need.  The Christmas we need is the celebration of God’s forgiving grace in Christ.  It’s the celebration of God’s forgiveness that reminds us it’s never too late to repent of the destruction caused by our unbridled wants and be released from our imprisonment to them.  It’s the celebration of God’s love that can show us how to walk a path of health, wholeness, peace, and generosity while helping us resist the temptation to become imprisoned by our unbridled wants.  I pray that God will help me prepare for the Christmas I and the rest of the world need. How about you?Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

 
Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.
My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on December 4, 2013.

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