When Ronnie writes of prisoners who “have given up,” who “are waiting to die” or who “just want to die,” he knows well of whom he is speaking. With equal confidence, the inmate of Riverbend Maximum Security Institution writes, “The good news is that Jesus doesn’t give up on any of these people. Nor should we.”
Ronnie’s brief reflection on John 17, including his personal journey of more than 40 years to discover “Jesus is love; Jesus is real,” is part of the 2011 Lenten Devotional published by Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tenn. Fifteen current and former inmates of the maximum-security prison wrote more than half of the entries in the booklet. The rest came from church staff members and other sources.
Karen Vander Molen, a church member active in prison ministry, and the Rev. Mark Price, minister of spiritual formation, coordinated the project. It began as Price was considering who might write the Lenten devotional.