On Poetry and Presence



I've heard it said that poetry is an effort to share reality, feelings or truth in as few words as possible. It works to connect the reader to the writer in a deeper way than mere storytelling may. Yet, with its brevity, comes a great chance for misunderstanding. How many times have I read poetry with another and one of us says "... I don't get it."?

But give it time and tragedy and joy, and I've found I can return to a poem old and read it new. The poem I didn't understand, I now weep through. 

I think in many ways, the bible is poetry. It has literal poetry in its pages plenty, but I think the whole book has a poetic essence to it. When I consider the vastness of God and how he has contained so much of his truth in a book I can hold in my hand, I marvel we understand any of it at all. How many times have I read my Bible with another and one of us says... "I don't get it."?

But give it time, and tragedy and joy, give it his gentle leading and revealing and Holy Spirit's care, and I can return to its pages old, and read them new. The gospel, the parables, the tragedies I didn't understand, I now weep through. I see myself in them, I see how he moves towards us through them and most importantly, I see him and his character and his all encompassing goodness. He's the Blessed Controller of all things. 

It is something tender when a reader reads a poem we ourselves wrote. When they groan at the right parts, laugh at the right bits, nod at the deepest phrases, we feel revealed. Isn't it such a sacred thing to share our poetry with another and for them to see us deeper for it, to understand? 

 It's a sacred thing God has offered himself up so willingly, in his word and in Christ and in Holy Spirit, so that in our wanderings on this dusty earth we can understand him deeper, and yearn for him greater, and soon -soon-join him in a place where understanding comes easy.

His parables- poetic patience, His word- a gift of healing, Jewish and Gentile history- to see there is pain in our past and pain in our future but soon soon, soon, there lies an invitation. Soon we will go where we always belonged and where poetry is not needed to understand one another's deepest parts. He gives us his words, himself, his presence and his beauty in the fullest measure our bodies here can hold. Can we even imagine what it will be like when those limits are gone? 

I understand my God's poetry a bit more because of this heavy season. And perhaps that's enough. To see a bit more clearly where we've been, where we're going, and the most cherished reality-to whom we belong. 

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