Poetry of Love (Part 3)

12 11 2010

“The Church: God’s Collection of Poems”

One of my favorite poets is Gerard Manley Hopkins.  And in this poem he captures the heart of God for imageodei, people created within His image, a lonely people looking for light, like a man carrying a lantern through the night.  He writes,

The Lantern Out of Doors
Sometimes a lantern moves along the night
That interests our eyes And who goes there?
I think; where from and bound, I wonder, where,
With, all down darkness wide, his wading light?

Men go by me whom either beauty bright
In mould or mind or what not else makes rare:
They rain against our much-thick and marsh air
Rich beams, till death or distance buys them quite.

Death or distance soon consumes them: wind
What most I may eye after, be in at the end
I cannot, and out of sight is out of mind.
Christ minds: Christ’s interest, what to avow or amend
there, eyes them, heart wants, care haunts, foot follows kind,
Their ransom, their rescue, and first, fast, last friend.

All people matter to God.  All of us at times are the person walking through a lonely night of the soul, looking for something.  We are all walking through the wind and fog.  And we are noticed by Jesus.  Christ minds: Christ’s interest.  His eyes, His heart, His care is upon each man and woman.  He is there for our ransom, our rescue.  He longs to be our friend for we are the apple of His eye.

He is, after all, the master poet, always writing, always meditating upon His work.  He is brooding over each of us for greater healing.  He is longing to complete His work in our lives.  His work is plural: works.  He is working, always working to give us more freedom, to heal the deeper wound.  To avow or amend what He began.  Not done.

The church is His “collection of poems.”  The church—His grand idea.  As disappointing as the church might be at times, she is still his collection of poems, a poetic statement within each soul of a master poet that is masterfully at works. Works, not of our making, but His.  A set of sad works, joyful works…but all thoughtful.

The big poetic idea of Jesus is the church.  A communal idea that was first birthed in and through the nation of Israel but has come to fruition through the church.  Not consummation but fruition.  The works of Jesus are manifested through the little poems that walk, talk, share, cry, give, love.  Little poems.  Undone poems.  Incomplete.

Creation Continues

God’s collection of poems—the church is still being created.  The creation continues.  An incomplete collection; a dirty collection; an untidy collection.  But His creative collection nonetheless.

God’s collection of poems—unfinished.  We are all still so broken, fractured, torn, and tired.  But, the final line has yet to be penned.  There’s still time.  A work in progress some have said. But, it’s true.  A work.  Not a project or “resource.”  We are not projects of this world.  We are not resources for some seemingly greater work.  We are already the greater works of God!

We are original works of grace being created by Heavenly Father for the works of His doings in our life.  Eugene Peterson captures this thought,

Original works of grace are possible in the everyday work of forgiving the sinner, in helping the hurt, and in taking up personal responsibilities…creation continues.  The streets and fields, the homes and markets of the world are an art gallery displaying not culture, but new creations in Christ (Traveling Light)

Creation continues when we cooperate.  When we allow the paraclete to have access into our life—the walking, the conversation, the relationships, the job, the boring hours, the shopping.  He’s never done; never a complete poem.

And so grace continues, grace is not conspicuous.  All grace is a writing of the hand of God upon our lives.  Nobody’s life is without grace.  More about this next time…



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