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Monday, July 11, 2005

Scripture poetry

Recently I came across a website where the host was working his way through the Bible, translating major events and themes into limericks. Limericks, believe it or not! I never knew the limerick could be put to serious use. I've written a number of them; they roll off my tongue and fingers easily. But they are always silly. I wish I knew the Internet address of that website now so I could give it to you. Ahah! I just clicked on my Google Desktop Search and typed in "limericks" and up came the address I wanted:

That's Tim Challies' blog.

Anyway, I enjoy reading some Scripture poetry. I think what Tim has done is done well. And sometimes I have written Scripture poetry. I have an uncompleted series on the life of Peter, the disciple. That's one of my several unfinished projects that will have to wait until after we complete the major part of our Bible translation work.

Here's a poem I wrote in 1995:
Your Glory In the Sky
(based on Psalm 19)

Oh, Lord, your glory is shown near and far.
I'm awed as I look at all that you've done
when you placed the lights in the sky: every star
and the moon for night, for the day, the sun.

They don't speak a word yet I hear what they say
as they teach of your measureless wisdom and might.
I'm ready to learn as they lecture each day
and I know they keep telling of you every night.

You've built a grand home for the sun above.
It awakens each day with the glowing face
of a honeymoon man refreshed with love
or a long distance runner eager to race

from the start at the eastern edge of the sky
then on to the finish line in the west.
As it runs it heats all the earth, and I,
as well, am warmed as I worship then rest.

Oh, Lord of the universe, Lord of my heart,
continue to warm me, continue to guide.
Help me to follow and not stray apart
from your road map so I will stay by your side.

May the words that I say and all that I think
be pleasant to you, my Redeemer, my King.
And when my life takes me close to the brink,
to you, my Fortress, I'll flee, praise, and sing.
I tried to keep it as close to actual Scripture as possible while still making it poetic. I realize that poetry doesn't need rhyme anymore, but I still like some rhyme. I guess I would call myself part of the neo-formalist movement in poetry. Unfortunately, I don't write nearly as much poetry as I would like to. I often have poetry feelings with me but I don't take the time to translate them into decent poetry, let alone decent words.

Some of you may be familiar with the psalms set to poetry. My wife and I attended a church when I was in grad school which only sang the biblical psalms set to music. They were beautiful.

If any of you ever write any poetry, even if it is just for your own eyes, I would encourage you to try to translate some Scripture to poetry. Something happens in that translation process that makes Scripture come alive more for us.

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