Wednesday, June 08, 2005

One Student's Search

"He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark, but actually find Him." Acts 17:26-27

Lord, I often pray and fret over my students who struggle with life and have never heard the amazing offer you give to us, but today I lift up those who have been given a misrepresented, tainted glimpse of You through the actions of rule-driven religion and hypocritical judgment.

I gave my finals today. One prompt for the essay was to write (using Arthur Miller's The Crucible as a reference) a problem-solution essay on the topic of religion and morals. Interesting reading, to say the least. But one broke my heart. You know which one. Here's an excerpt of what your child said of your church.

"It feels like monotony, maybe clockwork. Every week, same day, same time, same place. The schedule was the same, except maybe different page numbers. Come in, sit down, kneal, and pray. Then stand and sing a song or hymn. Sit down and listen, turn the thin, crisp pages of the Bible as the priest deciphers the message. Eleven years I gulped down the information I was preached . . . I was forced into a religion that did not suit me. I was put into a religion because it was my grandma's, aunt's, uncle's, and father's . . .then I stopped going . . . I did not see how an unknown, unliving spirit made earth. why did I have to go to church to pray and listen to a guy preach something I could read at home? Why did I go to a small cubicle to tell someone what I had done wrong? . . . These were some of the many questions I had about my religion. I am happy now I don't have a specific religion. I don't have anything I must conform to or do anything to make others accept me."

Lord, forgive us! We failed her. We didn't show her the most important thing about you. Lord, I pray that she continues her search and doesn't end it here. She is so precious, sweet, smart, and gifted. I know you're waiting. I will wait with You . . .

The Missing Reasons

She walked through the doors
We made Your house so cold
A stuffy box of empty words
Statues, pillars, white and gold.
She never met the host
She never knew the reason
She left when she was ripe
Now she faces a new season.
Lord, I wish I could tell her
But I'm scared I've come to late
She has built a wall around her
Sealing her own fate.
How can we climb over,
Tear down, get in, break through,
So she can know how You love her
No matter what she chooses to do.
You don't want her to conform
You made her who she is
You just want her to know
The sacrifice was His.
She doesn't have to work at it.
She doesn't have to kneel,
Pray or chant a scripture,
This doesn't make it real.
How do I tell her about
All you've done for me?
How do I truly reach her?
How can I make here see?
Yes, it starts as a religion
Passed down from Mom and Dad
But then I was one my own
And You were the only thing I had.
I don't pray to be nice
Or read the Bible because I should
It's the only place to find true love
And something that is pure and good.
The only place to be yourself
never to be judged
The only being you will ever find
Who only wants you to be loved.
How did we make You so complex?
So unreachable, so far?
How can I explain to her
How I can feel You in my car?
How you've waited, loved, grieved and hoped
And will from beginning to end
And how you questioned along with her
Her silent cheerleader and unknown friend.
Now she says that she is happy
I am thankful she feels this way
But hopeful that her search hasn't ended
For you are the truth, the hope, and the way.

1 comment:

David said...

Hey Mrs. Baker! This is David Simmons (you know...your favorite student hehe). I saw your url at the bottom of your paper so I decided to check it out. What you wrote for all of us was amazing, it showed that you have something personal with all of us. I Loved your class and would take it again in a heartbeat! I showed my parents your poem and my Mother nearly fell to tears. She is a paraprofessional at Cleveland Elementary and could relate to some thoughts of the letter that are passed down from teacher to student. You can write me back if you want to my email is if you're wondering about the email name, my family used to own a gun/knife shop, and it was a part of me, hence the dagger. Alright, keep writing! You're very inspiring!