The Lord sets the prisoners free;
Opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord is my light and salvation.
Whom shall I fear?

One day when I was teaching in a local jail, an announcement came over the loudspeaker that the jail was going into lockdown. My students were immediately taken to their cells; I was instructed to remain alone in our classroom to await release by one of the deputies. A jail is a fitting place to meditate on suffering and death—and yes, on resurrection as well. Suffering is more obvious. The incarcerated are separated from their families, experience a sense of failure and a loss of autonomy. But the men and women I’ve met in jail also long for resurrection: to be lifted up, to change, to rise above.

In the class that I teach, students are introduced to the concept of the Core Self as their invincible center that embodies goodness, strength, wisdom, peace, and compassion. In spiritual terms, we might call this our soul.  My students resonate with this concept and often make the connection to their faith in God. They understand that they have inherent goodness at their core, even though they, as all of us, may at times lose touch with this sacred center.

My students and I had been meditating before the lockdown, so I decide to spend my waiting time in centering prayer. Before I begin, I look around the classroom and bring to mind my students – their courage and honesty, their desire for release. The Lord sets the prisoners free; opens the eyes of the blind. Surely God is in this place.


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