Greetings brother and Sisters,
Resurrection Sunday was nothing short of an amazing day. The air crisp with excitement, as joy filled my heart. I walked onto B yard at Avenal State Prison outside of Coalinga, Ca, as the days normal church service was the Easter service on the yard.
The men greeted me with excitement as they showed me the flyers they passed out for the service. Do you know what C.D.C.R. means?, the flyer boldly asked. Come to Easter service on the yard to find out. “CDCR,” is the governing agency of the State of California and stands for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Of course as Christians, this has a different meaning to us.
The service went on, guys surrounded the large speaker stack as worship music permeated the yard. Men were playing soccer, walking the track, and conversing in various spots on the yard. The church was gathered on metal bleachers surrounding the pulpit, ready to receive the Word. The music ended and I went to the pulpit with my interpreter with me. We had a Spanish interpreter, as the yard has a Spanish congregation who joined our service for the day.
I asked the question, Are you a silent Saturday Christian? What does that even mean? Silent Saturday is the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. A silent Saturday Christian is a Christian who claims Christ for the forgiveness of Sin, but doesn’t live in this newness of life we see in Romans 6:4 (NASB). 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. A silent Saturday Christian is one who claims the name of Christ, but doesn’t live in the newness of life they are called to live into. They haven’t moved into the resurrected life. They are stuck as a prisoner to sin and mediocrity claiming the name, but not getting in the game. Passivity, fear, doubt, and not letting go of selfish desires all live in this place. We must be resurrected with Christ, from who we were into who God wants us to be.
The end of the message pointed to the reality of the clothes they were all wearing. CDCR, prisoner. Christ Died, Christ Rose, so we can be set free from our prison is the Christian reality for those who live and claim the resurrected Christ. Let’s not be silent Saturday Christians! Let’s live into ALL that God has for us and be willing to be lead by Him and deal with perpetual sin in our lives.
The final prayer of the service, we gathered into a circle, took off our shoes and raised them above our head. We claimed the yard for Christ, as Holy ground. We claimed that everyone who walked into that area, would be somehow interrupted by God. The area we blessed, was right on the walking path every inmate will walk over on the yard. We believe God can move and change the hearts of men and women everywhere.
Let’s live in this resurrected life together!
Pastor Eric Mueller