Prisons Week doesn’t just focus on UK institutions but has a concern for UK citizens held overseas.
We started this week by looking at Paul’s imprisonment in Philippi and we are going to end with him in Rome, which was a far more protracted experience and, yet again, a long way from home.
Although he was chained to a guard, he had privileges: house arrest in a rented property and considerable freedom to receive visitors.
He had ample opportunity to write and had a large circle of friends in Rome.
The local church was there for him, and presumably the powers in Rome were committed to resolving his case more speedily than those he had dealt with in Caesarea. Centuries further on, not all who are held abroad are that well cared for.
When we think of the lengths some churches went to to send support across seas and mountains, with no charities to help or websites and newsfeeds to give information, it can make our efforts today seem small.
But every time we read Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians or Philemon let’s stir ourselves; we are hearing from a prisoner abroad.