Each week during Eastertide I am posting a poem that helps me engage more meaningfully with Jesus’ resurrection. Here is Christian Wiman’s poem “Every Riven Thing,” which is from Every Riven Thing (2011). Christian Wiman is a contemporary poet and essayist who edited Poetry (2003-2013) and serves at Yale Divinity School as Professor of the Practice of Religion and Literature.
God goes, belonging to every riven thing He’s made
Sing his being simply by being
The thing it is:
Stone and tree and sky,
Man who sees and sings and wonders why
God goes. Belonging, to every riven thing He’s made,
Means a storm of peace.
Think of the atoms inside the stone.
Think of the man who sits alone
Trying to will himself into the stillness where
God goes belonging. To every riven thing He’s made
There is given one shade
Shaped exactly to the thing itself:
Under the tree a darker tree;
Under the man the only man to see
God goes belonging to every riven thing. He’s made
The things that bring Him near,
Made the mind that makes Him go.
A part of what man knows,
Apart from what man knows,
God goes belonging to every riven thing He’s made.
Previous poems in this series:
George Herbert, “Easter Wings”
Denise Levertov, “On Belief in the Physical Resurrection of Jesus“
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
The last couple weeks all of our lives have been disrupted. National, state, and city leaders have called for limited social contact and, in many cases, issued orders to stay at home. We are forced to slow down, to limit our activity, and some of us have more time to fill than we are used to.
We are forced to draw away. We are, in many ways, forced into solitude. This is the perfect time to draw near to God.
Yet, maybe you, like me, find that there are so many more distractions than ever before. There are more news pieces to chronically pay attention to, more Zoom calls to join for work, more Netflix or Amazon Prime shows to binge, more kids doing their schooling in otherwise vacant home spaces…and the list could go on.
The truth is that we struggle to make space for what is most important. But here it is. This is the perfect time to draw near to God. So, will you join me in taking the necessary steps to do it? We can do this by taking time in solitude with God, by reading His Word daily, by seeking Him in prayer, and by being still and knowing that He is God. It will not happen by accident. It will only come by focused, intentional preparation of the space of our lives to draw near to Him.
The wonder of James’ promise is that when we draw near to Him, God will also draw near to us.
This weekend, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Eastbrook Church, we will begin a two-week message series exploring “The Good News of Jesus.” Drawing upon the post-resurrection accounts within the Gospel of John, we want to bring into sharper focus the ways in which Jesus brings good news to the world.
April 20/21 [Easter]: “The Good News of the Resurrected One” – John 20:1-10, 30-31
The resurrection of Jesus from death brings good news into our lives. As we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, we will also explore three themes of how this is good news: light overwhelming darkness, freedom overcoming prisons, and life overpowering death.
April 27/28: “The Good News of New Beginnings” – John 20:11-21:25
After Jesus’ resurrection, John offer a series of encounters that Jesus has with real people. Each of these encounters sheds light on the way in which Jesus’ resurrection is good news: God’s presence in loss (Mary), God’s peace in fear (disciples in the upper room), God’s guidance in doubt (Thomas), and God’s restoration in failure (Peter).
If you have not yet listened to this message from Andrew Brunson reflecting on the presence and absence of God, you should listen to it soon. Brunson talks about his experience of God’s absence through a good deal of his imprisonment in Turkey, of how his reading of prison biographies did not prepare him for the difficulties he experienced, and how God stripped him down to the most basic level of devotion. “The most important thing I learned was not presence. The most necessary thing I learned was a simple devotion, a simple faithfulness, a simple love on my part.”