Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Last year my family and I went to visit Alcatraz Island and former federal penitentiary which was known as “the last stop”.   As I walked through the various blocks of cells, the yards, and walked along the outskirts of the island I was struck by an overwhelming sense of urgency.  Standing on the edge of a cliff on Alcatraz Island, looking across the bay towards the city of San Francisco it does not seem so impossible for one to escape across to land on their own either by swimming or using a raft of some kind.  In fact, on the boat ride over to the island several people commented that, “It’s not that far to swim. I could swim that easily, no problem”.  However, once on the island, all one has to do is look down, into the churning, rapidly rushing torrent of currents and rapidly flowing waters of the bay to realize that to enter into that water without the proper equipment and life saving support would be deadly.   The currents seem to flow in all different directions rolling and swirling any poor soul straight out to sea.   Once on the island, it is easy to see why inmates referred to Alcatraz as “the last stop” and many were overcome by despair.   Although Alcatraz is no longer a federal penitentiary, the feelings of isolation, separation, and eminent depression remain and leaving the island one feels a sense of relief that they are free to go and in a way are escaping the impending gloom and doom of the island.   

                As I observed my fellow passengers on the ferry boat back from the island, I realized that although we were leaving the island, many of my fellow companions were heading back to a seemingly endless Alcatraz of their own creation;  a place of depression and despair, void of the hope that this sinful world is not “the last stop”.   Not only are they stuck on their islands, many who try to escape turn to self-devised methods of escape and fall into the swirling, churning currents of addiction and abuse which carry them out to a sea and an early grave.   The sad thing is many do not even realize that getting off the island is the easiest decision in life; just accepting the Warden’s pardon and following His example will free them and give them an all-inclusive one way ticket across the bay to the other side.  However, a more heartbreaking reality is that many other people know how to get off the island and are in the group who claim they have a pardon and are following His example; never took the time to actually get go to the Warden’s office and pick up the paper.  They never took the time to actually meet the Warden, look into His face, and personally accept all the goodness He had to offer them.  For these people when the time to board the ferry off the island comes; the Warden will say, “I’m sorry but I do not know you.” 

                If you, the reader, are unsure of your fate – NOW is the time to act.  Now is the time to search for the Warden, to accept his pardon, and to receive your ticket off the island.  There is a dark cloud rapidly covering our world.  It is blacker, denser, and deeper than any darkness this world has ever seen before and it is coming quickly.  More than ever before a sense of urgency must be felt among this last and final group of passengers who remain on this earth.     
               If you, the reader, do know the Warden – NOW is the time to act.  Now is the time to search for your fellow companions who are confused or misguided, to reach out to them, and to implore them to receive His ticket off the island.  This is not a time to be complacent or to ignore the warning signs.  This is a time for immediate action, for a full blown search and rescue effort to reach out to those who are being swept to see and for those who are contemplating diving into the waters.  NOW, we must act now.  There is no time to second guess; there is no time to consider your options.  Accept and escape or reject and perish.  Which will you choose?  

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