Embrace Your Inner Poet
The Holy Spirit is the wellspring of creativity and a master of spontaneity. That makes “keeping in step with the Spirit”, tricky (Gal. 5:25).Not only does it take trust, it also requires a certain mental flexibility and spiritual openness in order to respond to him in immediate circumstances in the moment. Cultivating this response allows for the kind of serendipitous, naturally supernatural experiences that we read about in the gospels and Acts and are otherwise missed if I’m preoccupied by the past or anxious about the future.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my young grandchildren lately. I have to marvel at their knack for being in the moment. I envy their uninhibited, playful ability to color outside the lines of convention and propriety. They’re seers. To them an ordinary cardboard box contains limitless possibilities – a magical fortress, a spacecraft to travel to infinity and beyond.
This reminds me of something Dylan Thomas once said about the power of poetry: “A good poem helps change the shape and significance of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.” Poetry is different. It’s not just informative like prose, its transformative. Good poetry changes the way we see things… ordinary things… life…I guess that makes my grandkids poets.
John Thomas Allen wrote, “A poet has to be childlike at heart – all romantic stereotypes about poets being ‘eternal children’ are accurate.” So, it dawned on me that if I’m going to get better at staying in step with the Holy Spirit it would help to become more poetically inclined like my grandchildren…
Not surprisingly, I find the Holy Spirit more poet than academician Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s very smart but his actions are “poetic”. The wind of the Spirit blows freely outside our categories, beyond our calculations. He can’t be controlled or contained (John 3:8; 2Cor. 3:17). Like a poet, he plays by his own rules. Doing things considered foolish, not permitted by logic or reason. Opening a world to us that exists beyond our reason. Giving us access to contradictions and tensions that logic must deny. Enabling palmists and prophets to not only remember but also comfort, propose, conjure, wonder, imagine as well as foretell.
Israel did poems. Miriam did poetry when God’s people escaped Egyptian slavery (Ex. 15:20-21).Deborah did poetry when it dawned on them that the Canaanites weren’t as tough as they thought (Judges 5). Hannah did poetry when Samuel was born (1Sam. 2:1-10). And Mary did poetry when she found out she was pregnant (Luke 1:46-55).Each celebrated the impossible that was suddenly possible right before their eyes, even though they couldn’t explain it. They sang while the nonpoets among them were still analyzing and critiquing, drafting memos, and writing reports to each other. The poetic actions of the Spirit opened them to receiving new gifts, new possibilities, and a new future, while logic and reason tried to control it.
I want that poetic action shaping my life. But if I’m going to freely engage the Holy Spirit in healthy, constructive, spontaneous ways, I’ll have to embrace my inner poet and become more like my grandchildren. And in order to do that I’ll have to keep working at letting go of my old rigid, controlling ways in order to receive the impossible from God.
I came across this interesting paraphrase of Ephesians 2:10 in The Voice Bible:
For we are the product of His hand, HEAVEN’S POETRY etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.
God is the Eternal Poet and his work is poetry in motion!All of existence is his poem, full of wonder and mystery, rhythmic and lyrical. Like all great poetry, ordered yet beyond reason, complete with contradictions and tensions that defies logic. And if we are to live this life as God designed, reason alone is not enough. Faith and childlike imagination are also necessary. We must learn to live more poetically.
Lord, make me more poetic so I can move beyond the restrictive boundaries of logic and deduction and become more childlike again… Help me to be open and accommodating to the transformative, poetic ways and actions of your Spirit so I can receive the new gifts and possibilities you give to those that trust your goodness. Amen.