It Takes A Poet

This is what poets are paid for... to watch clouds, look at chipmunks.  Someone has to keep an eye on these things. - Billy Collins

How do you talk about God?  Do you ever really think about it?

For most of us, our conversations about God are pretty short and sweet, or they are reserved for the life sphere we've dedicated to "church" or church-y activities---which is just one among many of our life spheres of influence.

Put all that aside for a moment.  If you are actually talking about God, what kind of language would you use?

Chances are, you'll borrow from the words you've heard or read in Scripture.  You'll use phrases you've heard in hymns or praise songs.  Or you will come up with something on your own---something that reflects your experience of  God in the world or in your life.

We try to capture the essence of God with our words, but our attempts always fall short.  Think about it.  How do you speak of the unspeakable?  How do you describe what is beyond description?

Here is how you will do it. 

You'll speak in metaphor.  You'll use simile and analogy.  You'll personify the Divine.  You'll use what is known as zoomorphism to describe God as being like certain kinds of animals.   It will sound like this:

God is love. 
God is like a loving mother/father.  
God is all powerful
God is light. 
God is good, compassionate, ever faithful, just, holy. 
God is Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer.  
God is like a mother hen, a lion, a dove.  

And all along you will be using the language of poetry.  Because in the end, all of the theological jargon you can come up with to try to explain the event of God will feel flat and jaded.

If we want to feel something when we talk about God... if we want to take our jumbled beliefs and notions about God and imbue them with meaning, we need poets to help us. 

Only poetry can give our words about God the wings they need to transcend this mortal coil and soar to heights above.  (See what I did there?)

Try this on today.  Speak about God using the best words you can think of.  Nothing is off limits.  Write down every phrase, every image that comes to mind as you try to comprehend God.  And let your words lift you up, and give you joy.

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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