A Reflective Poem on Psalms 137-138

Dear God,
Today, there are refugees missing home,
Having to forsake their land, their homes, their memories,
To find freedom.

Psalm 137 speaks of the Babylonian Exiles being led away,
As their babies are are dashed against rocks.

Psalm 138 speaks of rejoicing and praising God amidst the pain.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, in your mercy.

When refugees come to our land,
We say “tell us a song of your land.
Tell of your culture,
So that we can mock you,
Appropriate you,
And then mock you again.

When refugees fear they will forget their home,
Or their children will forget their heritage,
They curse themselves.

Saying, “let me tongue cleave to my mouth,
So I may never talk again
If I forget where I came from.”

Let me forget everything,
If I forget where I come from.

But yet,
I will praise God amidst this pain.

All kings and leaders and rulers,
Shall praise your goodness,
O Lord,
In good time.

In good time,
All will be right and true,
And you will be seen as ruler of this world.

“In the day when I cried out,
You answered me,
And made me bold with
Strength in my soul,” (138:3).

Though I am lowly, you see me,
You rescue me,
You fight for me, a little refugee girl,
With brown eyes, dark hair,
And a missing mom,
Whom I haven’t seen for months now.

When will I see my parents again?
When will I remember my heritage?

I will worship toward the House of God,
Knowing that you are there,
And everywhere,
Me and my parents are.

Amen.

Living in two worlds…

Dear God,
I am caught between two worlds.
Liberal Christianity in one hand, and conservative, Nebraskan Christianity,
In the other.

I find it liberating to study progressive biblical studies, where we
Are critical of the Bible’s origins,
But I also miss its applications to our lives.
Where we are guided by the Word,
Where God teaches us so much.

I feel taught by two worlds and one God.
I see God in action today, reflected in the Bible.

I see a Moses here, and a Pharaoh there,
I see a leader among a hateful place.
I see John the Baptist there, and Jesus here,
Proclaiming their Kingdom Come.
I see Paul in every business man, preaching his truth.

Lord, but I also see reality when it is there,
That there wasn’t actually an Exodus, or that the five books of Moses,
Were stories sewn together during and after the Babylonian Exile,
TO unite a refuge of people, the newly founded Jews, as they were
To be called from then on.

Lord, help me see this light in all things.
Help me see both.
Help me see Moses in my life,
And critical biblical scholarship in the Bible.

Help me see Jesus in everyone,
Even if Jesus didn’t say the exact words in the Gospels,
Same as Paul or Peter,
Or the fact that Paul and Peter didn’t write what everyone says
They did.

Help me pretend, for just a bit,
TO have faith,
But let me pretend
And acknowledge my pretending that the Bible
Is historically true,
So that my head can learn with my heart.

Lord, don’t force me to forsake my brain to accept Jesus.
Likewise, don’t force me to forsake Jesus for my brain.

Let my head learn with my heart.

Amen.


A Poem on Today

Today, I left my DoC church.
I’ve left the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

I met up with the pastor of First Presbyterian, and
Everything sounded right.
Reformed theology sounded right.
Even if the PCUSA shys away from predetermininism.

God, I see this is where you are putting me.
I enjoyed First Christian for a while,
But as the pastor put it,
That was for a time, a season,
And now it has run its course.

God, I’ve made such strides this year:
First, accepting the Trinity again,
Then Reformed theology,

And now a denomination with confessions, creeds, and a
History and a set theology that I can tap into when I preach,
So that I’m not always preaching the same thing every
Sunday: Love thy Neighbor.
I want to preach LOVE THY NEIGHBOR with a bit of a creed,
With confessions, Christian history, and denominational history
To back it up.

God, I’ve excited, really nervous,
And pumped for this next journey that you’ve got for me.
Fall 2019, here I come as a Presbyterian, for life!

NO MORE SWITCHING CHURCHES AGAIN!

I’m beyond sad, crumbling sad, to leave First Christian,
And my heart cannot take leaving Bev or Janet,
But it has to be done.
Lord, my heart aches.
Lord, watch over them and cherish them as beloved children of God.
I hope they see your light of progressive theology,
Where God loves all his children, not just the sinless ones.
Because we are sinners saved by grace – no longer guilty.
And some sins they think are still sins, were never sins to begin with
(I’m talking about homosexuality, here!).

I’m just trying to remind myself that this is for my good, so I’m trying to keep it together.
I’m waiting to hear back from Jack, to whom I sent that text saying I won’t be coming back to First Christian.

Lord, forgive me for leaving them, and help me on this journey with First
Presbyterian in the future!

Alleluia and Amen.

PS. I would love your prayers on this future.

Life Update & Faith Links: God, I am learning

Hi everyone,
I hope your week is going well!

Here are just a few of my updates, troubles, and struggles:

As I’m growing more Reformed, I’m leaning toward the Presbyterian Church (USA). They’re a liberal Reformed church, but I’m a liberal Nebraskan, so I’m down for it. The trouble is what to do with my lovable, but conservative, church members at First Christian. While we still haven’t voted on it yet, we’re still looking into leaving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). With my moving away from Disciples of Christ, which I’ve been finding too loose in doctrine and not helpful in building up one in faith, I’m looking into attending First Presbyterian Church here in York. I want to leave Disciples of Christ, but I don’t want to leave my dissenting-First Christian church. They are family, and I love each of them, even if they are super conservative and their close-mindedness gets on my nerves sometimes.

So, I’m not sure how I can attend First Christian (and preach there, since Pastor Penny is leaving), and be Presbyterian. For now, I’m looking into attending First Presbyterian three weeks in a month, and attend First Christian the last week (or two, if we have five Sundays in a month). Earlier this week, I thought about just leaving First Christian completely, so I can devote myself to FPC and not get caught between two churches. This seems to be the most wise thing, but I DID say I would preach there for some time until we got a new pastor. Divorcing yourself from a church has to be quick and easy; otherwise, everything hurts. There is always pain when you divorce yourself from a church, especially when you’ve grown close together, but separate on social issues or doctrines.

I’m going to talk with Pastor Mark of First Presbyterian and see what he thinks. I’ve grown really close to Bev, Janet, and Jack and others, and am sad to leave First Christian.

My other option is to see if we stay Disciples of Christ, and then stay with the DoC in Nebraska. The thing is, though, is that with the DoC being of “no creed but Christ,” I don’t know how I’m going to raise my children with ambiguous beliefs. How will they know the right way to Jesus and know that they are chosen before time to be His children?

This is tricky.

Lord Jesus, I am learning. Jesus, I see your hand in all things, including this shaping of my life into more of your image, through this struggle. God, you’ve put me on this wild faith journey, and I know we’re still just in the beginning!

Would love your prayers.

Thanks, Leigh

PS: Here are some links to traditional views of the Bible, that you can use in your Bible study, and also some more open-minded and liberal ones as well:

enterthebible.org (Liberal)
bibleodyssey.org (Liberal)
thebibleproject.com (traditional)