Uncontained

Monday, February 3

Danny Belrose

Danny Belrose

By Danny Belrose of Independence, Missouri, USA

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God…

—Colossians 3:16–17

Religion lives in poetry. We reduce theology when it defaults only to prose. Whenever we distill faith into definitive lists of dos and don’ts—whenever our tired definitions tame the mystery of the Divine—wonder no longer claims us. We claim it and cut it down to size. Metaphorical language can contain more than facts and creedal declarations. It is also ethereal. It can escape the language of literalism.

Thank God, for poetry!
Not its rhythm, meter, or rhyme, not even its strained beauty.

No, celebrate its ambiguity—its highs and lows stretching for the sublime.

Its faltering phrases unequal to what it seeks to say in language divine: the pulse of the heart,
the dreams of the mind,
the wordless cries of the soul.

No matter of factness, no recipes, or formulas to make mystery compute.

Poetry, in all its artful forms, is faith’s bright window.

Brushstrokes, canvas, wood, and stone.
Symphonies, cacophonies, notes on a page,
never quite blue enough, true enough,
wanting, taunting, yearning for more

A clear note sounded, a rough edge rounded.

A marriage of meanings when words newly wed suddenly say what could not be said:
the telling of God that once was untold.

A dab here, a dab there—just a hint,
a splash of serendipity sprinkled on canvas,
an unsurpassed aria, a wispy word or two wrapped in metaphor
where mind, heart, and spirit play.

Faith measured is faith restrained. Set it free!

Let it ring out in fanciful verse, in a singer’s song, an artist’s sketch,
a blush of color, a liturgical dance.

Thank God for poetry—good, bad, wanting and waiting, stretching and straining,
never content, never indifferent—its soiled song unwilling to be contained.

Prayer for Peace
Creator God, your universes are untold—and yet we try to form the words—try to contain them in human verse. Free our minds to your unlimited and continuing revelation. Free our minds to find new words and ways to share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Psalm Writing
The psalms are poetic prayers of honesty and trust. The psalmist trusts God’s presence in times of fear and failure, joy and plenty, growth and change. Write a short psalm or poem expressing to God the truth about your spiritual state. What are your deepest feelings and longings? What prayer of praise or gratitude flows from you as you consider God’s creation?

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will look through faith’s bright window with psalms and poetry.

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4 Comments

  1. Larry Buchanan St Thomas Congregation

     /  3 February 2014

    We have several older members in the congregation who really miss the Daily Bread.
    I look with eager anticipation to see the new one for today.
    I would copy them a week or month ahead if they were available like the ones from the archive. Can the future ones be made available? I Irene Robinson a former 70’s wife who is very ill asked me when i administered to her today. Larry.

  2. Dorcas Wilkinson

     /  3 February 2014

    This last Sunday, we did a comparison of various scriptures of the Beatitudes; from the Inspired version, NRSV,to the Living Bible and The Message. The discussion was lively and wonderful. One of my reactions to The Message is, ‘the poetry is gone’, yet it does speak to many. After the class, a friend of the church came to me, saying he has created a ‘sermon’ that put the various versions of the Scriptures into a pot, lights it on fire, and “Love” is what comes out!
    Thanks for your insight!

  3. Frank Mendenhall

     /  3 February 2014

    Danny has a way of bringing me back into the mystery of God and God’s working. It is too easy for me to get bogged down in my thoughts regarding all the terrible things mankind has done to one another that I forget the marvelous mystery of God. God of the unknown and the known, God of the seen and the unseen, God of the knowable and unknowable, I thank you for the beauty that comes forth from your humble servants such as Danny. Help me to dwell in your presence yet never forgetting that which needs changing in our world. Amen.

  4. Dr. Judith Sornberger

     /  3 February 2014

    Dear Danny Belrose, I love this reflection. As a poet and teacher of creative writing, I love the way you place art at the center of our worship of and search for God. Interestingly, I received this post from my cousin on the same day that a FB friend and poet Barbara Crooker posted a poem called “The Twenty-first Century Twenty-third Psalm” that was published online in “Light.” I think you’d enjoy it. Thanks for this!

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