It’s some time now since Johnny Cash sold well with a recording of a sympathetic live performance from a prison. In our more moralistic time, nothing could be further from the Zeitgeist than speaking of release of prisoners. Yet that is precisely what the Church does this evening. There’s an echo here of Graham Greene’s “appalling strangeness of the mercy of God”. The coming redemption is a threat because it is so universal, so revolutionary, so merciful. It leaves those aspects of ourselves which would set ourselves apart from or above others, that would see ourselves as the Good over against the Bad, with nowhere to hide. The tacit condition of the prayer “Come Lord Jesus” is recognition that his love is unbounded.
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.