Monday, September 01, 2014

My Mission Field

I write poetry.  I hang about with people who write poetry, or read poetry or listen to poetry being read.  It’s a very precise group of people. That’s my people, my place and my message is conveyed in poetic form – it's my mission field I suppose, which is not to say it’s my only mission field.

A month or two ago I spoke at our local Women Aglow meeting about digging up the gifts God has given us and shared with them my own discovery of poetry.  Something seemingly random tipped me onto a path that I didn’t plan for. I shared some of the landmarks along the way.  Through the generosity of my church I was able to publish a collection of poems – “Wider Than The Corners or This World”.

One of the ladies in the group shared an encouraging testimony regarding the poetry book.

Her father-in-law was very ill and in the final weeks of his life.  He was a lover of poetry but perhaps not such a lover of God.   No one wants to feel that they are being hounded into the kingdom but there was a sense of urgency as the days went by.

Knowing he loved poetry, my friend read some of the poems from my book. They don’t pretend to be anything other than poems about faith.  God isn’t hidden behind vague metaphors and deep symbolism.  You would have to read the book to see what I mean.  Some of them are full of gentle theology that bashes no one over the head.

She said that he smiled and held her hand as she read one poem after another. There were opportunities to talk about the truth in the poems, but mostly she let the poems speak for themselves. He found comfort in them.

It was a few weeks later that another friend shared with me that she had just returned from the man’s funeral. 

In the final hours before he died the family were gathered around and taking their turns to have a last conversation, a final embrace before saying goodbye. 

He sent one of the family members to fetch his daughter-in-law although he had seen her earlier on.

His request - “I think I am ready to meet Jesus.  Will you pray with me?”

The prayer they said together was possibly the last thing he said before he passed away.

My friend believes the gentle poetry was the turning point. The gospel presented in the poems did its job. 

Words are powerful things.  How they are lined up - one beside another – to convey a truth and stir an emotion inside – it doesn’t get better than a good poem.  Without the church’s encouragement it’s unlikely I would ever have found the finances or the confidence to get the book printed.  The poems would not have been in a book to read to anyone. 

God moves people and draws out of them the gifts He has first birthed in them. He chooses the people and the places where those gifts are best demonstrated.  Sometimes the planets align and something wonderful happens.  Sometimes someone is nudged just a little closer to God.

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