Our faith is full of mystery; some are uncomfortable with this, but that’s the way God intends it to be. Can we ever claim to have full understanding of the resurrection of Jesus and all that it means? No matter how many Easters we’ve celebrated, it’s still awe-inspiring. When we try to fit God into our nice little packages, we can look absurd — and we can, unfortunately, make Christianity look absurd. God has not given us a book of systematic theology, but a book of poetry.
Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University Theology Professor, recently said in Image, “To see the world, to see ourselves in the light of the resurrection, means that Christians cannot help but discover that our language is inadequate for the task. That is why poetry is so important for the work of theology.”
The following poem, from my book Poiema, is one of my little works of theology. When we embrace metaphor — as Jesus did — we interact in a living way with truth.
Bound by winter’s fist when the air is chilly
a buried bulb’s the dead memory of a lily
The empty shell of a loved one in a closed coffin
lies still as we all will beneath a lid draped with lilies
The green shoots surprise us no matter how often
we witness soil first opening to a hint of lily
Its green rapidly rises then cone buds soften
white trumpets opening disguised as lilies
Each silent as the stone that sealed the tomb until he
blasts on that trumpet then we’ll rise like a lily
D.S. Martin is Music Critic for Christian Week; his new poetry book, Poiema (Wipf & Stock), and his chapbook So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed are available at www.dsmartin.ca