Adam and I served alongside some dear friends at a prison unit recently, facilitation something called “Day with Dads”. Here, convicts, separated by their families, have the opportunity to fully embrace their loved ones. We served lunch and played games.
Had it not been for the white uniforms and guards present, you’d forget this was a prison. To see the faces of the Dads when their son or daughter walked in that room…there are no words, but tears streamed down my cheeks. Through-out the day, the families continued to offer their gratitude for this program and the opportunity twice a year to see their loved one who’s living with the consequences of their choices. The end of the day came, and the good-byes held more tears than the “hellos”, for both parties knew it would be many months before this would happen again. The young children did not understand why Daddy can’t be home.
After experiencing Dad with Dads, I read Hebrews chapters 8-10 and saw some amazing connections. Before these Dads are allowed to even participate in the event, they must prove themselves by good behavior, being trusted in small things, etc. There is also weeks of documentation and paperwork for both parties. So it takes some time and commitment. The families don’t just decide on Saturday to come and show up. But all that “red tape” reminds me of the Levitical system of the Old Testament. All the laws to memorize and carefully follow, the sacrifices to make for each slip up. The sacrifices couldn’t just be made by anyone, anyhow. They had to follow a specific way, by a specific person, the priest. The people had restricted access to the Holy One. There was no hugging God. It looked more like a phone call through a glass barrierwith an interpreter on the line, and an embrace on the way out. You are reminded of who you are and who you are not. Not very relational.
Now comes Hebrews 10:19-22:
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”