There was nothing that suggested we had anything in common. The obvious distinction was the color of our skin. The purpose of our presence was related but different. He was home in this area and I wanted to go home more than I wanted to be there. I didn’t like suits, although I had to wear them, and he stood there every day in a suit which wasn’t required of him. His gold tooth was foreign to the culture I was used to.
My eventual friend, “Dukes” was a bail-bondsman who I first noticed standing in the same spot day in and day out in the courthouse. He was impressive in his stout stature and sharp dress. During the first conversation we had, I asked him if he had family and he started to share his Father’s heart. He was a father to two sons and to many more who needed a way out.
As I got to know Dukes over the coming months, I found a faithful servant to anyone who needed practically anything. He was attacked and rejected by many who had been a part of the system for longer than he. Some of the attacks were openly racist and others were just hateful based in jealousy or other evil. He never responded in kind, not once. No matter the venom that was directed his way, he simply showed up and stood his post as a light in the darkness.
We found a common faith and purpose. Neither of us were there to post bonds or defend criminals, at least not as our sole focus. We were there as Kingdom carriers. We were there to get in on what God was doing and be a part of it. We were there to heal the broken-hearted and proclaim liberty to the captives.
We would walk and talk and pray together. We would tell each other of a Kingdom opportunity we had been exposed to through our respective positions and come in agreement not against flesh and blood but against principalities and rulers. The constant focus of our strategy was the see transformation in the lives of people.
It was a fulfillment of what I had learned in a way that made the learning so much more real. I found a friend of peace and prayer and we agreed to see the Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven, there in the darkness of the criminal justice system. This wasn’t a church building but where two or more gathered (and there were others), church was happening in action where action was needed the most. The church was impacting the domain of society that was in need of impact. The Kingdom advanced and it’s always a pleasure to serve the King.