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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

 Why is the modern church so spiritually impotent?  Maybe it should pay attention to the biblical idea of what it should be about, and how.

Williams Trying to Make this Point

PRACTICAL ECCLESIOLOGY

Commentary, 1 Cor. 14:26, Col. 3:16

Each member has a place; each one belongs,

As seen when, gathered as a congregation,

They sing their psalms and hymns and holy songs.

Whether two or three or mighty throngs,

The Lord is in their midst.  A priestly nation,

Each member has a place; each one belongs.

The Lord himself with love eternal longs

For them; each one by special invitation

Is singing psalms and hymns and holy songs.

A pincer movement, ministry:  the prongs?

A verse, a prayer, a word of exhortation.

Each member has a place; each one belongs.

How beautiful the feet, the sandal thongs

Which go to every tongue and tribe and nation

Singing psalms and hymns and holy songs.

Spectators passive in their pew?  It wrongs

The vision, suffocates the celebration.

Each member has a place; each one belongs,

Singing psalms and hymns and holy songs.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

 

CCXIX  

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

This poem is a double sonnet and an acrostic.  Read the first letter of each line from top to bottom and compare that with the verse in the title.  Trinity Fellowship was a church I planted in Toccoa, Georgia.  It had  a decade of good ministry in the 1990s before the reality that it was too radical for its sleepy little Southern town set in and it folded.  I had to try, for reasons the poem makes clear.  I have no regrets.

1 TIMOTHY 3:15

The Founding of Trinity Fellowship

University Church in Athens, Ga., was the model for Trinity Fellowship of Toccoa.

Hard the path of men who live alone:

Outcasts, Eliot’s Magi with their race

Uncomprehending, staring, blank of face;

Seeking—those who ought to be their own,

Easily the hardest, hard as stone;

Hearts that claim and mouths and hands that trace

Outwardly the elements of Grace—

Lacking life, corruption over bone.

Daring to believe the Message still,

Onward plodding, leaving Hope behind,

Forgetting hunger for the kindred mind.

Grace has not forgotten all its skill:

Onward plodding, shows us in the trip

Delights unlooked for:  founds the Fellowship.

Me preaching at Trinity Fellowship in the early days before we had a building to meet in–well, sort of. 😉

Supper of the Lamb together shared;

Useless baggage seen and laid aside;

Prayer from deepest need—the need supplied;

Preaching from the Text—the Text declared;

Odes of ancient praise renewed and aired;

Royal priesthood serving side by side,

Tasks imposed by Scripture not denied;

Old and new, the treasures are prepared;

Flock responding to the Shepherd’s fife;

Truth digested into will and heart,

Realized in acts—at least a start;

Unction of the Spirit bringing life;

Together finally, Boaz and Ruth:

House of God and pillar of the Truth.

The building in which we did not meet.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CCXVIII 

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

The first church in the set of acrostics below shall remain blessedly anonymous–but examples are, sadly, not hard to find.  The second was Trinity Fellowship of Toccoa, Georgia, which had a significant ministry in the 1990’s before she succumbed to the fact that she was just too radical for her sleepy little Southern town.  She was formed on the pattern of University Church, Athens, GA. (www.theuniversitychurch.org), which manages still to survive as a testament to the fact that a New-Testament church is not, even in this decadent age, a complete impossibility.

ECCLESIA I

(The Generality, America, Late 20th Century)

Enemies before her would retreat,

Could find no refuge, even in their gates,

Could she but once advance; and yet defeat

Lies heavy on her face.  She hesitates,

Ever stumbling over her own feet.

She cannot lift them, cumbered by the weights.

Insane!  She thinks herself well clothed and rich—

All but naked, headed for the Ditch.

The House where University Church Meets

ECCLESIA II

(When It’s Working)

Fellow pilgrims following the Way,

Ambassadors who serve the King of kings,

Members of the Body and the Head;

Itinerants who seek a place to stay,

Listening, believing, questioning,

Yearning to enflesh the Truth they’ve read.

Overcomers through Another’s might,

Finders of the Joy that seeking brings,

Givers of their bounty: beggars’ Bread;

Owners of white robes and crowns of light

Derived from One who lives but once was dead.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CLXXXII

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

The sufferings of Christ on the Cross at that singular moment of space-time history were sufficient to pay for all our sins forever.  But they strangely do not end, not yet.  For He suffers continually along with His persecuted people, asking Saul why he was persecuting Him—and He feels acutely also the wounds they inflict upon themselves.  What the ultimate purpose of these additional sufferings is we do not know.  But they certainly serve to highlight the depths of Christ’s identification with His people.

Crucifixion-Glass 

COMMENTARY, HEB. 6:6

 

Behold it, battered beyond recognition:

It gazes, hardly human, through the thorns.

Weeping tears of shame, yet still it scorns

To call down angels and abort the mission.

Wonder, then, how long in this condition

It can endure to be so bruised and torn,

To bear fresh wounds on those already born

And still remain strung up on exhibition.

 

The world looks on and thinks it comprehends:

“Another Promise failed, a Name besmirched;

So must all false Messiahs make amends.”

You recognize, impaled upon its perch,

The Body of our Savior?  Oh, my friends—

This is the other Body of Christ:  the Church.

 

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Book-CSLTheology-Cover

XCIV

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.” I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Anyone seeing the influence of George Herbert here gets an official brownie point.

George Herbert
George Herbert

The Will

When our Lord chose the Church to be his bride,
He did not chide,
But took her sins as dowry, though it bled
His heart’s blood out to bear them, and he died,
Bequeathing his estate. The will was read
And published throughout all his kingdoms wide.
“I here leave all to her whom I have wed:
Forgiveness, life, myself no longer dead,”
Was what it said.

Stars Through the Clouds

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.