Christianity 201

December 28, 2011

Poetry Corner

Different people I know react to poetry in diverse ways. The Bible has five books which we call “the wisdom literature” which are poetic, though each in various ways. However, the song lyrics and poetic forms are found throughout both major and minor prophets, as well as in the historical books.

In the gospels we have the four examples of song associated with the birth of Jesus, with the Magnificat in Luke’s gospel being the best known.  And we have Paul’s Philippians passage beginning, “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus…” which many believe had become a hymn of the early church.

Modern Bibles indent poetic sections or typeset them in verse form so that we recognize the change in form, though they do not all agree as to which sections deserve this treatment. Many contemporary writers wish to place Genesis 1 as poetry, while others cringe at what they feel is taking the passage down the road to a more liberal interpretation of the creation story.

How do you react to the poetic passages?  Or contemporary verse?  If you have an ‘artsy’ temperament you probably relate better than those not so inclined.  Either way, poetry can’t be absorbed with speed reading. It requires you to slow down and adopt a more meditative posture; I would argue it also requires more than a single reading.

Today we have two post-season reflections on the incarnation.  The first by Thomas Watson comes by way of Ann Voskamp by way of David Fisher:

”He was poor, that he might make us rich.
He was born of a virgin that we might be born of God.
He took our flesh, that he might give us His Spirit.
He lay in the manger, that we may lie in paradise.
He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven…
that the ancient of days should be born.
that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle….
that he who rules the stars should suck the breast;
that a virgin should conceive;
that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which himself made,
that the branch should bear the vine,
that the mother should be younger than the child she bare,
and the child in the womb bigger than the mother;
that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God

Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to heaven
If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us .
Behold love that passeth knowledge!”
~Thomas Watson

The second is uncredited from Daniel Jepsen’s blog, and is perhaps his own work.

I have sometimes wondered, dear Christ
Which was the greater sacrifice
Was it the tomb or the womb?

Dark death held you inside
Three days, and nights beside
Imprisoned in the world you had framed

But nine months did You face
There in Mary’s dark place
Growing in the woman you had made

Did You know even then
You were the Savior of men
Or were your thoughts in darkness as well?

And as Your mind came to life
Could you sense of the strife
You would endure on Calvary’s Hill?

I have sometimes wondered, dear Christ
Which was the greater sacrifice
Was it the tomb or the womb?

1 Comment »

  1. I prefer the second poem — thanks for sharing it. God bless. Carley

    Comment by lambskinny — December 29, 2011 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

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