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The Poetic Life of the Christian – Part 2

While I do not suffer from color blindness, I do have a condition that might best be described as “beauty blindness.”  I simply need help from others  to see many of the lovely things all around me that I might miss.  Thankfully, the Lord has placed four bright beacons of beauty in my life, in the persons of my wife and three daughters, who help me with this.  Miriam is constantly pointing out to me such things as the flowers on a walk I would not have seen, the piece of music I would not have heard, or those sweet moments in our children’s lives I would miss because I’m distracted with other matters.  My daughters’ bright faces, love of music, active lives, and joyous spirits keep reminding their dad of the glories of God seen in the ways He has made this world overflow exuberantly with so much artistry.

Through these ladies in my life I have become more attuned to poetry and song as well.  Indeed, it was one of my daughters, reading to me a poem one day she was excited to share, who unknowingly inspired me to speak on this subject and then write these posts.  In […]

The Poetic Life of the Christian – Part 1

A few days ago I spoke to a group of college students about a subject in which I am ill-trained.  I gave a talk on poetry.  I even spent most of the time reading poetry to them.  To be honest, I felt as awkward as if I were at my first dance. The talk, and even the posts I am doing on it, will be fairly amateurish to those knowledgeable in this field. So why put myself through this?

Because the Christian life is a poetic one by nature and, as I have been seeing this more and more, I want others to see it as well. Though I read the poetry like I dance – with two left feet – I still enjoyed the exercise.  So how exactly is the Christian life a poetic one?

Christians are to be people of the Bible, and by its nature the Bible is poetical.  We see that primarily in the Wisdom literature of the Scriptures, the books Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon (which are often also referred to as the “poetic books”).  In these books, God uses poetry extensively to call us to seek wisdom.  Not only does He command us to seek it, […]

At That Feast Can Sing

What num’rous flocks of birds about me fly?

When saw I one, through want, fall down, and die?

They gather what his hand to them doth bring,

Tho’ but a worm, and at that feast can sing.

How full a table doth My father keep?

Blush then my naughty heart, repent, and weep;

How faithless and distrustful hast thou been,

Altho’ his care and love thou oft hast seen?

-Excerpt from John Flavel’s Poem from Chapter XIII of Navigation Spiritualized

Hallowed Memories: Happy New Year!

One my greatest New Year’s Eve/Day highlights is singing the 77th Psalm to the tune Auld Lang Syne. For me, this tradition began in Grand Rapids, MI, in the manse of Rev. and Mrs. Lanning. Bringing in the new year with God’s Word sung is a marvelous tradition that I have brought into my home and promoted among my congregation in Los Angeles.

The 77th Psalm begins with the psalmist crying out to God and refusing to be comforted. He then begins to recall the days of old and in his heart’s meditation he confronts himself with a series of self-examining questions.

Self-examination at the end of year and at the beginning of a new year is worthy of our consideration as Christians. Here are some of the psalmist’s questions that you may also examine yourself as you begin 2013:

Will the Lord cast off forever?  Will he be favorable no more?  Has his mercy ceased forever?  Has his favor failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he shut up mercy in anger? What does the psalmist conclude following examining the character of God in relationship to his merciless perception? 

You see, in these questions we find the obvious! Jesus is […]

My Nanny

They say the best gifts come in small packages.

Such was my Nanny.

A picture of a gangly teenager, arm outstretched,

Shows Nanny standing under it, smiling up at me.

Yet her soul was so much larger than mine.


When we were kids, my brother and I would spend weekends in her tiny house.

Nanny worked magic there.

Bitter coffee was made sweet with liberal doses of her milk and sugar.

Thread-less spools, dipped in dish soap, became backyard bubble blowers.

Empty bread bags, wet paper towels knotted inside, turned into comets

As tails were twirled and thrown upward into the sky.

Yet her magic could not keep a grandson

From feigning illness, to avoid going to the church she loved;

Revealing a true sickness of heart.


Two-Sevenths of a Meditation on the Resurrection

Meditations on Jesus, his person and his work, are always worth meditating upon. We established that last week as we reflected, in meter, on the connection between his humiliation and exaltation. Sometimes meter helps us to internalize, understand, and apply what is normally heard in prose.

Today, John Updike shares… well, I share Mr. Updike’s words…  stanzas one and seven of Seven Stanzas of Easter. As you reflect on Christ, do not go the way of the modernist or the postmodernist-  do not turn events into metaphors. The resurrection is the historical fact upon which the confession of the church stands, and upon which the Lord Jesus is building his church…