"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:32 NRSV)
Devil's Island, one of three islands off the coast of French Guiana, has been referred to as the closest thing to hell on Earth. The penal colonies there were established in 1852, when Emperor Napoleon III closed two prisons in France and sent the convicts to one of these three islands. There they would serve out their sentences and then be freed to remain there to establish a new French colony. But this colonization drive was a dismal failure.

A former prisoner wrote that the men fought two things: the climate and each other. The heat, the insects and the confinement cells were all very uncomfortable, but the most hellish aspect of these islands was that once a man was sent there, he was to stay there the rest of his life if he had a sentence of eight years or more. So when the men served out their sentences, they were still, in a sense, imprisoned. Devil's Island had a rocky shore surrounded by shark-infested waters. There was no escape. In theory they were free, but not really. In effect they were still prisoners.

Through Christ we are free. Do we really live that way?

God of peace, guide me in truly being free. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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