02 October 2005


Today I took a break from my normal academic fare to read a little poetry. I picked up a volume of The Essential Wordsworth, and only got through a few lines before I hit this remarkable passage from "The Ruined Cottage, Second Part":

A while on trivial things we held discourse,
To me soon tasteless. In my own despite
I thought of that poor woman as of one
Whom I had known and loved. He had rehearsed
Her lonely tale with such familiar power,
With such an active countenance, an eye
So busy, that the things of which he spake
Seemed present, and, attention now relaxed,
There was a heartfelt chillness in my veins.
I rose, and turning from that breezy shade
Went out into the open air, and stood
To drink the comfort of the warmer sun.
Long time I had not stayed ere, looking round
Upon that tranquil ruin, I returned
And begged of that old man that for my sake
He would resume his story.
For one of my classes this semester, I've been reading Brueggemann's Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism. Brueggemann states that there are three basic stages that take place every time the Good News is shared: the initial salvation event, the creative pronouncement of the event and what it means, and the transformed life of the one who hears that pronouncement. Here Wordsworth poetically relates the tragic tale of a woman who once lived in a now ruined cottage. The old man speaks with such passion and love that the poet is captivated by the tale of poor Margaret, to the point of getting chills and being anxious to hear more. The old man's words and genuine enthusiasm about his encounter with Margaret are cast in such a powerful way that they alter the life and perspective of another.

I wonder how our evangelistic speech compares with the old man's story about Margaret. Strictly speaking, the old man's was a tale of great suffering, loss and decay. Ours, rather, is one of triumph over the powers of darkness, the ever-coming Kingdom of God, the entrance of God onto the human scene, a new family that is bound by the Spirit and love ... I could go on and on. Said simply, we have as much a story of hardship, pain, and rejection as the old man's, but with the renewed life and resilient hope found in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Lord, help us as we learn to passionately, creatively tell the story of what you have done for us, and may lives be transformed because of that story.

1 comment:

Shellie said...

Kelli, that is an excellent thought and I love that you got it from poetry! Of course, I would, I'm your little, poetic monster! =) I hope one day I can tell my story through my poetry and possibly get people thinking about why my outlook is one of hope and not tradgedy. Your so cool!!! I love you!