Week 48 Wednesday

In A Foreign Land
Today’s scripture selection: Psalms 137-139
Key verses: Psalm 137:1-5
Some years ago I worked with our church’s youth camps. Part of our daily routine was to sing camp songs. Many of these songs were silly little things – complete with silly actions designed to get the kids laughing and interacting. But some of the songs were quite beautiful; calming.
One in particular that I remember was based on these verses from Psalm 137:
“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.”
It’s a song about being in exile; about trying to be faithful to God in a “foreign” land. And how, even when we feel abandoned or lost we “remember” who we are – and to Whom we belong.
It’s a haunting idea.
What one of us can’t identify with that feeling? It’s that sense of somehow, oddly, being an orphan or of being a “pilgrim just passing through” on our way to the Promised Land.
Life here and now can have its beautiful moments – there’s no need to deny that.
But it’s important to always remember and affirm that this is not our final destination.
And, when we recall that, we can find strength for the times that are anything but beautiful.
When you feel as if you are in “exile” and that no one understands – you can draw upon your faith and conviction that God has not, and will never, forget about you.
So find your voice. Sing – even while in a foreign land. Sing the Lord’s song – and find peace.
Prayer: Thank you Lord, for giving my faith voice. AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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