A Poem

I wrote the following in response to a friend who, feeling disheartened at a recent Regional Synod meeting, wrote a poem expressing his frustration with rules of order, parliamentary procedure, polity, governance, and the like. My response (“embodied” in imabic tetrameter) is an attempt to defend these things, or at least to suggest some theological importance for them.



A body is a gift from God
through which the blessed may enjoy
the other blessings to employ
in service to the Giver, God.

And yet some do despise the gift.
They wish from its constraints to break,
those bounds and limits to forsake,
and live their gifted lives adrift.

This dream is common, and quite old:
to leave behind the flesh, the shell
and thus to live, and live quite well;
a gnostic freedom to behold.

The gifts are real, the body good;
it is God’s gift that there may be
a space for possibility
so grace may thrive just as it should.

Space has measure, depth and height.
Within that space, run, we may,
and climb, and work, and rest, then say
“Thank God” for all these gifts so right.

This we know, and this we share:
embodied praise for God most wise.
But churchly bodies you despise
and say of these, “I do not care.”

On this I think we are agreed:
the body with no soul is dead.
And this, I think, may too be said:
the soul, a body it does need.

Daniel Griswold

This is my last post of the month. I am taking a four week study leave. Wish me productive dissertation writing!

Christ’s peace,

Dan G.

7 thoughts on “A Poem

  1. I never cease to be amazed at the creative way you answer people’s concerns – with beauty and truth. A preacher, a teacher, a poet – I celebrate your gifts. ADM

  2. Very good. It is hard for some of our sisters and brothers to appreciate the role of order in being the church. Let me respond to your poem with a hymn, written after GS 2006, in large part in response to something Al Janssen said (quoting Van Ruler, of course!):While chaos births creation, in order we beginrenewed appreciation for gifts we hold within.First listening, then sharing, we give and we receivein ways that model caring and live what we believe.For those who nurture yearning as covenant and goal,we praise God, while still turning toward grace that makes us whole.Each record and reminder supports, on Christ, the base,a Church more loving, kinder, which finds him in each face.

  3. James, nice work! To what tune do you prefer to sing your hymn? One by your partner in music and in marriage? Or perhaps one of these:AURELIABECKEWINGMERLE’S TUNENYLAND

  4. Way to go, Dan!Hoping for my own four weeks of writing some day…..May it be as productive as you hope it will be, and bring the finish in sight.

  5. I write it for AURELIA, because it needed to be familiar (it was for a stated clerk’s farewell), but MERLE’S TUNE would be nice, and I gave up on telling folks what tunes they were supposed to use for my texts years ago.

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