Only Questions

After this year’s Hutchmoot Homebound, Rabbit Room‘s online conference, an opportunity was offered to participate in a collaborative art project called Pass the Piece. The project randomly pairs two artist. One begins a piece of artwork and sends it to the second artist to complete. I received a piece from artist Dawn Waters Baker titled “Living in the Land of Uz,” and I responded to her piece which you can view and read more about HERE.

Just this week, I sent my Pass the Piece artwork to a visual artist who works with a variety of mediums. A dear and patient friend with just the right tools has helped me to create something to serve as a palette of sorts upon which my friend also engraved a poem I wrote which serves as my part of this piece. (Thank you Rick!) I do hope that artist to whom I’ve sent my piece can work with it. I can’t wait to see what she does with it.

It may be no surprise to those in the congregation I pastor, but I’ve based my poem on Job which has been the subject of sermon series as of late. Job is a book with which I have had a familiarity, but it, just like suffering in general, is not something I can readily get my head around. I think I’ve gotten a better handle on Job, and I hope I have a more honest and faithful and hopeful understanding of suffering. The poem I wrote is based on Job 38:1-7 which reads,

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
   “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
   I will question you, and you make it known to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
   Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
   Or who stretched the line upon it?.
On what were its bases sunk,
     or who laid its cornerstone,
   when the morning stars sang together
     and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
(ESV)

You may listen to me read the poem via the player below.

I have no answers, Lord,
Only questions.
Like, why come with a storm
Into the chaos of my storm?
How is one to know which is the help,
Which whirlwind is caused by sin,
Which rescue or finish me?
And why have you stood off 
Silently?
I have no answers,
Only questions.

No, I was not there
When you laid the foundation.
It was not by my skill or strength
That it was made square and plumb.
I did not stretch out a line its length
To measure Your wisdom and love.
I did not pour into the earth with my hands
The footing upon which
Every last thing that stands
Now stands.
I did not mark the depth, breadth, and height
Of Your cornerstone’s wisdom.
I did not lay it in place
By it make all true and right.

Nor did I choose the keystone
Which holds the arch, fills the breach,
Holds in place the pillars of sky,
Holds all these things leaning together,
Even the answers just out of reach
As I lean towards You,
One Whom I thought I knew,
One Who is now unknown,
But where else can I go
With my questions?

What was it like
When the morning stars sang
In the first day’s, pre-dawn light?
What was the sound
Of the song which You taught?
Who led the heavenly band?
Who called the contradance
Who led the grand 
March, the real and swing
of the Allemande
Right and left?
How did the cosmos resound
When the sons of God shouted for joy?
What was the noise
When the lifeless void
Gave way to the dawn--
The break of day?
What was that like:
Sound filled with sparks,
When delight became Light?

I only have questions.
Who are you, who now comes
To me in the ruin of ash,
To the dust of the death in which I sit?
What do you know of loss,
What to you did faithfulness cost,
And will I ever see the point of this?

© Randall Edwards 2021

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