We are His Poem: A Discussion of Worth
If you were in chapel last Wednesday (March 8th), you know how good it was. If you weren’t there, you definitely missed out. I am not alone in my opinion that this past chapel was one of the best hours I have ever spent on campus. While I could go on for pages about everything that Aaron Campbell discussed, I found myself particularly stuck on Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
He mentions that the Greek word for workmanship is “poiema,” a term that is derived from the the greek word Poiima (poem). He recited this verse to us by saying that “we are His poem,” and for whatever reason that struck a deeper chord with me. Maybe you can credit to the fact that I am an English major and my love for the written language.
“Workmanship” was never a term that I gave much thought to; after all, what is “workmanship” anyway? I picture God refining me like a crafted table of wood, but that still seems a little dull to me. But poem? I know what poems are, and I understand the depth and significance that comes with poetry. Allow me to explain. You see, there are very specific qualities about poetry that remind me of the wonders of my Savior.
Structure: Poetry is all about structure. A good poem will have an order to it. Depending on the type of poetry, there are a certain amount of syllables, beats, or even inflections that have to be included. A work of bad poetry would be one which attempts to have a cohesive structure, but then fails to do so on the account of poor word choice. We are God’s poem. He has structured our lives with the utmost consideration for each facet that He has included. We talk about God writing the story of our lives, but to write the poem of our lives is immensely more difficult.
Thoughtfulness: Continuing the idea of structure, a well constructed poem takes a lot of time. You may have an idea for what you want to say, but figuring out how to say it is the more difficult aspect of poetry writing. To find a phrase that perfectly captures the thematics of the poem while also having the correct amount of syllables can be extremely taxing. It amazes me to think that what I pour hours into is what God does without breaking a sweat. So while this does not exhaust Him, an analysis of poetry reminds us how much thought went into creating each person. We are not a carbon copy; we are individually-crafted, perfectly unique children of God.
Individuality: There are no two poems that are exactly the same. There are all different types of poems (Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets, haikus, limerick, just to name a few), but each poem has distinctive features, phrases, and themes that separate it from any other work. God does not just copy and paste parts of older poems to make a new one. Each one of us are written by hand; we are a completely new idea because we are a completely different person than anyone before or after us.
Beauty: Let us not forget the beauty of poetry. While there is much to be said about the construction and intricacies of poetry, there is also much to be said about the overall beauty of a poetic work. Poetry has the power to not only convey message, but also convey emotion with it. Poetry, because it is meant to be recited not simply read, gives us the chance to step into the shoes of another individual: to feel the vibration of someone else’s words flow from our own tongues. Poetry gives us the power to empathize with individuals we may have never even met. Poetry can reach across social divides and bring people to mutual understandings of hurt. God had created us to be creatures of emotion, and we can see His emotion through His poetry.
An Author: The most important part about being His poem is not that we are carefully put together or enabled to feel. It is simply that we are His. The word poetry implies that there is a poet: someone behind it all. Our worth is not tied up in the words in our lines, the messages that we convey, or the emotions that we provoke in others. Rather, all of our worth is dependent on the One who decided that we were worth writing. We are because I AM.