Monday, December 28, 2015

A Theological Correction

While no one has said or written anything, the first line in the poem I wrote and posted on Christmas Day has bothered me.  While I delve into trying to write some poetry from time to time, it is not a style of writing with which I am comfortable.  It is an unforgiving and demanding way to write.  Every word has to count.  Every word has to fit.  There is little margin for missing the mark as there is when writing prose.  And then, too, poems are such invitations to a wide range of interpretation.  They are experienced more at a subjective level which is subject to the experience of both the writer and the reader. 

What bothered me was that beginning word, "Pushed from heaven to earth, they say..."   I was so focused on my thoughts about the Word becoming flesh, the Incarnation, that I wrote a word which could surely be misinterpreted.  Using the birthing language was probably not the best way to describe John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh and lived among us," or that Philippian passage which speaks of Jesus  as One who "emptied Himself...being born in human flesh."  (Phil. 2:7) And, of course, another memorable verse which comes to mind is the one which reads, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..." (John 3:16)  When I chose the word, "pushed," it brought to mind the physical birth of Jesus to Mary, but it might have caused some to think that Jesus was forced into our world, or that it was against His will. 

It was an experience of being reminded to think through what we say about what we believe.  Words are important, not just to poets or would-be ones, but to all of us who seek to share words about what God has done for us through Christ.  Long years ago I remember a person wiser than I was who told me to take what we believe to its logical conclusion and make sure it is something with which we want to live.  For example, it is easy to talk about loving everyone, but then think about all those whom that includes.  So, forgive me for my use of literary license and know that I believe Jesus was not pushed into coming to die for us, but willingly made the choice.

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