Written by Lizette Merchan-Pinilla
"By the rivers of Babylon—there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our harps. For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!" Psalm 137: 1-3, 5
As we pray and reflect upon Psalm 137, we are also taught to submit our frailty and finitude to God; we begin a journey that transforms grief and anger into compassion; we affirm that life is lived and promised in the midst of death; and we anticipate and celebrate a resurrection power that frees us from captivity. The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary.
This psalm pretty much summarizes most of how 2016 has unraveled before my eyes along with what have been many chapters of my personal life’s journey.
A lifetime of stepping stones in God’s hands…at times sturdy and known, other times harsh and uncertain. Others as trying as those very first steps one takes when moving from uncomfortable and challenging to a more redeemable path of assuredness of God’s unconditional resurrection power that frees and moves us forward day in and day out.
March 1st, 2003 marked my first day as employee at my home church and denomination (the United Church of Christ) –as Spanish teacher, outreach educator, social service provider, minister of Justice and Witness and a myriad of other hats I wore along the way.
May 8th, 2008 marked my graduation from seminary from my Masters of Divinity and, May 9th 2008 as my ordination into Christian ministry in the United Church of Christ (UCC), and as a minister in the Kansas – Oklahoma Conference of the UCC.
October 1st, 2016 marks the day I will marry the love of my life after 17 years of a life together.
A journey to never forget: for its harsh-trying challenges, for the hope and resilience on earth and our very own discovery of our call to share what we have been given with one another. A journey to always embrace, be proud of and remind oneself for God’s witness to all throughout.
This journey has been an everlasting pathway from challenge to freedom, from hopelessness moments to over abundant grace filled times, for being loved, and giving love away, for being challenged by love and worldly societal standards as a gay Latina minister, social service provider in Oklahoma and embracing love for life as equality is calling all parties to leveling the playing field for all.
The bigger picture for me has been one of trusting the journey, not for what I believe needs to be but rather for the --yet to be known but TRUSTED in God’s realm.
The Reverend Lizette Merchán Pinilla, M.Div., is a Colombian minister in the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the UCAN UCC–HIV/AIDS Network, Colombia Partnership (http://www.ctucc.org/partnerships/colombia/), Proyecto Bienvenida y Gracia UCC, Sermon Seeds contributor, writer, and the convener of the Tulsa Hispanic Resource Association (social-services organization).