This is Noah.
When Noah started listening to BEMA, he was in “a rough place with Scripture.” The ensuing journey of discovery has been used by God as a truly liberating experience. Noah wrote a poem about it, and we wanted to share it.
“The Kingdom” by Noah Helsee
I used to think the Kingdom was a life way far out there,
Where life was really different and where all were taught to share,
Where things would really happen, where miracles came true,
Where God was really moving, and the light was shining through.
I used to think that missions was a thing way far away,
The place where things were hard and life was harried by decay,
The place where the surrendered ones went out to serve the Lord,
The place where you may perish, but you’d never once be bored.
I used to think that ministry was loud and vast and grand,
A planned and plaintive calling out to fast or take a stand,
A service by the nervous for a large, eventful throng,
A stage for pretty, praying girls to teach us all a song.
I used to think that church was more a place you came to learn,
A studying of love that you were not supposed to earn,
A reading of a writing of a wronging of a right,
A status of a standing of a chapter of a fight.
I used to think maturity was something hard to find,
The crushing intuition from a long and grueling grind,
The burdening submission from a will that has been broken,
The death of all your needs as though your heart had never spoken.
I used to think the Bible was an absolutist’s dream,
Where all should be explainable if ever too extreme,
Where all could be perfected if we all could just obey,
Where all would understand if we would let it have its say.
I used to think that Heaven was the end game for us all,
The purpose of our working and the answer to our Fall,
The destination wedding for the workers in the field,
The abnegation-setting for the quota of the yield.
I used to think that love was the beginning of the race,
A point from which we run and pray to God we’re keeping pace,
An entry-level opening for those just coming in,
An offer on the table from the graduates of sin.
I used to think a lot of things and thought them very strongly.
I used to be afraid that I was maybe thinking wrongly.
I used to be concerned that I would stumble off the path.
I used to be preoccupied with staying out of wrath.
I still don’t understand it all, there’s lots that I don’t get.
I spend a lot of time confused and fighting off regret.
I still can’t wrap my head around the vast amount of stuff.
But now my hands are open, and maybe that’s enough.
Now I think that love is more reflective of a chase,
A never-ending journey toward an infinite embrace,
An always-nearing presence of a truth we want to know:
That love is not restrictive, and it always wants to grow.
Now I think that Heaven is reality approaching,
The recreated way of life expanding and encroaching,
The hinting of a world that is not burdened by perfection,
The very good that’s coming just beyond the resurrection.
Now I think the Bible is a symphony of writing,
Where wrestling is welcomed and the spirit is inviting,
Where rigid lines can be released to wonder without fear,
Where troubled minds can rest in peace and know that truth is near.
Now I think maturity is something like a journey,
The lying on a bed and not the dying on a gurney,
The forming of believing as you learn to take it slow,
The confidence of trust that sort of happens as you go.
Now I think that church is more a place you come to love,
A unifying fit that’s more a suit and less a glove,
A grasping for a good that is not changing on a whim,
For no one has monopoly on truth except for him.
Now I think that ministry is just its definition,
A serving disconnected both from title and position,
A giving, or a living, or a small, important thing,
A smile for a person who is precious to the king.
Now I think that missions is a love for other people,
The love that doesn’t need them to be underneath your steeple,
The letting go of fear that they don’t do things like you do,
‘Cause God is always with them, and he loves them more than you.
Now I think the Kingdom is in everything I see.
It’s happening and growing, and the pressure’s not on me.
Everywhere where good is, God is moving in his time.
Light is always shining, and it doesn’t have to rhyme.