The Poetry of God

I've said it before. Poetry is often hard for me. One needs to put forth a lot of effort and actually exercise the muscle of the mind. Not necessarily to think logically, but to think imaginatively. There's a difference. 
Everything is my educational background has been geared toward learning to think logically. I suppose I just never took the classes (if they were offered) in using the imagination. Which means, I never took a poetry class. 
But every once in a while a piece of poetry just absolutely ties me up, binds me to see images in my mind's eye that I've never seen before. It's such an experience beyond my every day. I see bits and pieces of truth that are so rich and satisfying, yet it always leaves me yearning for more. When I 'see it' in poetry it fills my lungs full, yet also takes my breath away.  I've come to believe that when poetry opens up my eyes I think I'm seeing what the psalmist hoped for when he wrote, "I am confident of this, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Ps 27:13.
It occurred to me the other day, on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, that people, and really all of creation, are the Poetry of God. It's His way of communicating the deepest truths of His heart. I've heard more profound writers communicate this truth so I know it's not something particularly new. It's just that somehow this truth has rung my bell a little louder. So what I want to do is try to read His poetry a little more attentively. As my Lenten experience this year I want to try to pay attention a little more to the rhythm and rhyme of His expression. 
It's been said that nature was God's first Bible, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-His eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:20. When I read poetry I have to read slowly and carefully, so I want to walk a little slower and pay more attention to what is around me. Poets use words and language, paper and pen just like other literature, but they use them differently. I need to learn to read God's poetry differently. I think that means when I'm out and about in traffic or a store I want to do something with that more than just buy something or get from point A to point B. That environment is the paper and pen God could use to highlight something of His heart to me. I need to go slower and attempt to be more careful, maybe intentional, to get it. This is going to take a lot of practice.
People are God's highest creation, so intricate, so complex. We all have our baggage, wounds, and neurotic behaviors but that doesn't take away from the fact that what God made is good and has been blessed by Him. To be able to read God's poetry within people I need to first, not only admit, but name, my own myopic lenses which I filter other people through. I see them and experience them and evaluate them through my junk! I need new eyes in order to read this kind of poetry. 
Secondly I need to extend forgiveness, which allows me to be with the other, just as they are, without requiring them to be written and formed just like me. Forgiveness is the flow of mercy that contains the life blood of God's grace. It's that grace that forms the poetic structure of each person. Again, this is  going to take a lot of practice. 
Each person is a poetic expression of God's heart. When I sit and listen to another I want to listen for and applaud the unmistakable uniqueness of that person, even as it is so different from me or the way I do things in life. They are created in the image of God, they are an expression of God, not in totality but as a little couplet of love. 
Learning to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living is what my spiritual formation is all about. I am so far from where I want to be in regards to reading God's poetry like this. But Lent is a season to explore my formation and change into the image of Christ. I pray whatever God leads you to in this season that you will find His grace to be more than sufficient and that you too might have fun reading some poetry.  
Craig Babb