Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thinking about a poem and God's good plans

The poem “Do not go gently into that Good Night “by Dylan Thomas ended my last posting. That is a poem that has a very precise structure. The last lines are repeats in every other verse. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” alternates with “Do not go gentle into that good night.” I once wrote a poem that needed this kind of structure.

I had written a free form verse and it went all over the place without any distinct meaning. I knew what I wanted to say, but I was failing to say it. I have always loved the rhythm and rhyme scheme of Dylan’s poem so I took Dylan's poem and used it to shape my own sprawling mess. My poem took shape and in that shape had meaning. Sometimes the events of our Christian lives are like that. But it is slightly different.

All we see is the sprawl and the mess. But God as the author and keeper of our lives has formed the poem of our lives. We are walking in the midst of his plans but often cannot see his shaping. And we must understand that this is as true of those who suffer in such places as North Korea and among the totalitarian regimes of some Arab governments such as Saudi Arabia as here in the United States. In every place God’s words and promises are the same. Our lives are shaped for his glory and in that we have meaning and peace:

And we know that God causes all things to work for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Although I have posted my poem several times on my blog, I will add it again. For today, I mean it for all those in the midst of denominational struggles:

The Sweetness of Gathering to the Vine

The sweetness of gathering to the wine
is claimed by children resting in a tree
whose root became the food within the vine.

These, childlike made, they bless the cup and dine
upon the fleshy food they cannot see,
and drink the holy bloody wine.

Like sibling children fighting in a line,
who later laugh when by the bell set free,
these happy ones are laughing in the vine.

And raging gods whose deeds their shape confine[1]
have called for war, whose very end shall be
determined by the drinking of the wine.

Go death to death, the children life define;
now blood of saints and Christ's good blood agree
the holy life is living in the vine.

If nails be sharp pursuing flesh to pine,
and wooden burdens bend and bruise the knee,
feast on the broken flesh, drink up the wine;
hold fast the fellowship within the vine.

[1] This line is referring to demonic forces such as in Eph.6:12.