29 November 2009

Things You Don't Hear in the Parish Church

"Let's offer each other a sign of peace. No bruising!"

"And behold, the angels appeared, praising God and saying---MOVEMENT! MOVEMENT!"

(In the midst of some equisite quiet one evening) "Pill line!"

"No bruising?" I can see your head shaking from here. "What does that mean??"

The second service of my Sunday is held in the dining room of a unit that houses a number of gang members, Surenos to be exact. The other unit having a service at the same time houses Nortenos--but most of them have gone to gym.

The brotherhood of the gang is thick and at the Kiss of Peace, there are handshakes, hugs, and the Thumping of the Back. Thus the admonishment, "No bruising!"

Of course there are things I don't hear in my prison parish:
--cell phones ringing
--announcements about coffee and doughnuts available in the social hall

In both places, the deep hunger for belonging and connection exists. We are not so different.

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