We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Eph 2:10 (Passion Translation)
Poetry in Motion – Stories Part 3
In this grand story of stories that God is retelling throughout the universe, the climax being unity and redemption – “gathering all things, everything and everyone, under Christ” – we are the poetry.
There're a couple of things to consider with the use of this language. In most of our modern translations, this verse reads “we are his workmanship.” But when translated from the original text, many scholars and theologians agree that the words ‘poem and poetry’ hit what Paul was trying to communicate to the Ephesians more closely.
At the time Paul wrote this letter, some of the most respected people in society were poets. They were educated, philosophers, shapers of culture, carriers of history… Think about the great poets we know from this time and era: Virgil wrote his ‘Aenead’ around the time Christ was a toddler. As did Ovid, completely his work “Metamorphoses” around 8AD. The great poets Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Euripides and more were the countries heroes and forefathers. It is believed that in Greek and Roman culture, the singing of hymn-like songs had been a cultural tradition for around 800 years before Christ. Poetic verse sung in gathered community. Poetry was how history was remembered. The ancients across many cultures set their legacies to poetry… lines that had rhythm, and could be memorized and passed down the ages. Genesis begins with one such poem, the story of creation told in beautiful imagery and wondrous language so that we would remember not just the event, but the nature of God who began it all himself.
For Paul to say that we are [God's] poetry is to say that we are how he expresses his intrinsic nature to the world.
Fast forward to today and poetry permeates our lives more than we know. In music, speeches, stories, liturgies… it's there in the muck and middle of life, expressing what cannot be expressed, giving form to the unimaginable and wings to the heavy and broken.
“Poetry is thoughts that breathe and words that burn.” – Thomas Gray.
“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” – TS Eliot
“A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.” – Salman Rushdie
“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” – Rita Dove
“Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.” – Mary Oliver.
We are HIS poetry. We are the expression of his life, the rhythm and rhyme of his grace; we are his words manifest, taking bodily form, rising out of the dust to display his divinity and love. He writes his story into the world, each of us a word, a phrase, a portrait, a brush stroke…
We are his history and legacy, a picture painted in blood and bone and breath of Christ himself and his power at work within us. Connected to what we can’t explain, expressing what we cannot comprehend and outworking a mystery we have not the capacity for. But all the while, it’s in this place where we find belonging and hope and freedom.
Let the poetic grace work into the marrow of your being… the parts you can’t explain, the things you dare not utter. And as this collision of humanity and divinity takes place in your heart, you become the poem. Allow yourself to be written into the world.
“We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One.”
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