Eastern State Penitentiary, cathedral of no 2nd chances

Eastern State Penitentiary was in operation from 1829 until it was abandoned in 1971.

It is open for tourism and is maintained, much like a musem/work of art, in a state of ‘sustained ruin’. As such, its appearance is at once striking and poetic.

It may be the most stunning representation of the inner life of a prisoner that could be imagined, an allegory in imagery: the once bright prison walls and well maintained discipline of its systems of confinement, and punishment, now all replaced, with ruin, perpetual ruin. It must now, in its own sustained death, reflect much of the inner life of those that it once housed.

It is a dramatic place which could make one resounding statement on the nature of life, that there are no 2nd chances. That the moments and decisions of our lives, cannot be done over again.

And it is a dramatic place to consider him of whom it was written:

“I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”

And thank God, that our decisions and actions, that can not be undone, can be redeemed.


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