On This Stage, Jesus Is A Robber; The Devil's A Rapist
Deborah Luster/for NPR
Terrence Williams plays a Roman soldier in The Life Of Jesus Christ, a play at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
There are more than 5,300 inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Nearly 4,000 of them are serving life without parole. Last month, the Angola Prison Drama Club staged a play unlike any other in the prison's experience.
The Life of Jesus Christ featured 70 inmates, men and women acting together for the first time — in costume, with a real camel, performing for the general public. For the untrained actors, this production held special meaning as they saw pieces of their own lives revealed in the characters they played.
The centurion's armor is castoff football pads, and his shield is cut from a plastic garbage can. His thick arms are covered with prison tattoos. Williams is in his 17th year of a life sentence at Angola.
See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further. - in it, you can also jump to a photo gallery of the actors, and also an audio version of the story
Here is just the beginning of this inspiring, and sad, story of inmates at the Louisiana State Prison who were given the opportunity of being part of a stage production of "The Life of Christ." Although this article is not, strictly speaking, a religious news article, we thought it was worthy of our blog, because it speaks to a sort of redemption, a chance, and an opportunity to start over - even within the confines of a life lived in a jail cell. Survival is possible for all who desire it...
The Urantia Book speaks of the lessons of the Cross, and what rehabilitation really means:
188:5.2 The cross forever shows that the attitude of Jesus toward sinners was neither condemnation nor condonation, but rather eternal and loving salvation. Jesus is truly a savior in the sense that his life and death do win men over to goodness and righteous survival. Jesus loves men so much that his love awakens the response of love in the human heart. Love is truly contagious and eternally creative. Jesus’ death on the cross exemplifies a love which is sufficiently strong and divine to forgive sin and swallow up all evil-doing. Jesus disclosed to this world a higher quality of righteousness than justice—mere technical right and wrong. Divine love does not merely forgive wrongs; it absorbs and actually destroys them. The forgiveness of love utterly transcends the forgiveness of mercy. Mercy sets the guilt of evil-doing to one side; but love destroys forever the sin and all weakness resulting therefrom. Jesus brought a new method of living to Urantia. He taught us not to resist evil but to find through him a goodness which effectually destroys evil. The forgiveness of Jesus is not condonation; it is salvation from condemnation. Salvation does not slight wrongs; it makes them right. True love does not compromise nor condone hate; it destroys it. The love of Jesus is never satisfied with mere forgiveness. The Master’s love implies rehabilitation, eternal survival. It is altogether proper to speak of salvation as redemption if you mean this eternal rehabilitation.