This poem is based on Psalm 119:33-48.
Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem with the eight lines of each twenty-two verse section beginning with the same Hebrew letter and continuing through the Hebrew alphabet. For the writer, the form limits both the vocabulary and gives a shape to the poem which is not so much linear but reflective on the same sorts of themes.
As I’ve tried to process the sections, I’ve found that Jesus’ parables become imaginative tools through which to understand them. I have not done this intentionally, it has simply arisen through the process. Now that I’m aware, I wonder what may happen going forward. Just the same, it’s at least curious.
In these verses of Psalm 119, the loving Father instructs the wandering eyes of the psalmist and the steadfast love of the Lord brings the psalmist to a spacious place. Wouldn’t that good news make us bold before kings?
If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the poem via the player below.
If you will teach me, make me learn and show
Me your word, I’ll understand, fully know;
I’ll delight in your laws, in your love grow
And not for selfish gain.
But my wand’ring heart wonders how to claim
Blessing without faith without trusting’s pain;
How alone I might seize, posses, obtain
My dreams from worthless things.
Set your strong love on my heart as a ring
Which heals as a balm, takes away death’s sting,
Removes the reproach my enemies bring
To beat down, lock me in.
At your word, “Light!” Life — a new day begins,
Resounds in music, a new song within
That your grace is greater than all my sin —
Leads me to a broad place.
This is the pasture of abundant grace:
The still waters of God’s loving embrace,
Knowing as we’re known, seeing face to face,
Received, unafraid, unashamed.
© Randall Edwards 2018.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: James Tissot 1836 – 1902 The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Return, oil on canvas — c. 1882 National Gallery of Art, Washington DC