God’s Poem

I’m going to keep it fairly short today.

Anyone that has read more than a couple of the posts I’ve written here knows the affinity I feel to the apostle Paul. Also known as St. Paul, he was a Roman citizen who converted from Judaism to become a follower of Christ, and as a founding father of the Christian church, he played an extraordinary role in the genesis of Christianity.

He also wrote about half of the books in the New Testament in the form of the Pauline epistles. These letters were originally written in Greek, and that fact is notable for today’s thoughts. I want to focus on something interesting and beautiful that I learned over the weekend.

There’s a verse in the book of Ephesians that translates poorly in most modern versions of the Bible. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10). Take a look at the fifth word in the verse–in this translation, “handiwork.” In almost all of the translations, the power of that word is underemphasized–at least to me. The original Greek said the word poiēma, which translates in several ways: handiwork, workmanship, product, masterpiece, or simply “thing that is made.” It is also, however, the word from which we derive the modern word “poem.”

I can tell you that as a writer, poetry is one of the hardest things to get right. It takes tremendous care, thoughtfulness, and diligence. A poem, whether it be schemed rhyme or free-verse, must be crafted and perfected. It is far more work to achieve ten lines of great verse than it is to create ten paragraphs of excellent prose.

So it is a beautiful thought to consider that each of us is a treasured poem. To consider that we are made thoughtfully and with purpose inspires gratitude and warmth of spirit. It lifts my heart to believe that I was so lovingly crafted.


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