Yesterday was a four-sermon day for me, one at Jubilee and three at prison. It was good, as usual, wonderful singing from the choir, prayer, response to the sermon, lots of handshakes and well-wishes.
A sad thing happened that is a first for me in nearly 17 years of going there periodically for services. As the guys exited the chapel two of them got into a tussle which quickly escalated into a fight which left one with a bleeding mouth and the other sprinting for his "unit." Of course, people quickly told Ken, so he radioed for security staff (why there wasn't one at the chapel is another issue) and then followed the guy heading for "home." So, unfortunately, right after church two men were sent to the segregation unit. Another, for some unknown reason, was picked up after the third service and so that made three.
That is not what struck me the most, however. To my mind the saddest thing was the consternation of the other inmates as the fight broke out. The two guys were in the midst of a group, since they had all just departed the chapel. Some shouted at them to stop. Others backed off as fast as they could. Others tried to break it up, quickly stopping that when Ken came outside. Others came back inside the chapel building, quickly distancing themselves from the fracas. Everyone was upset. One choir member said, "I hate the devil." One was quite distraught about the fact that his friend was going to "the hole" and he hadn't been able to stop him. One of them said, "If we are out there when the guards show up we could end up in the hole too." All seemed surprised and distressed that this had happened practically on the steps of the chapel.
The third service started a bit late, but was good. We prayed for light in dark places. Lest you have the wrong impression, "the hole" is not a hole in the ground. It is, nonetheless, a very dark place.
I am thankful that when I go to prison I can leave again. I am also thankful that the light shines in darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.