The Old Testament of the Bible is saturated with poetry. Five books – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song Solomon – are virtually all poetry. Poetry can be found in other books as well. And while the New Testament doesn’t have any overtly poetical books (with the possible exception of the Book of Revelation), poetry plays a significant role here as well. We don’t talk much about the place of poetry within the church today, but the poetic reality of the Bible should perhaps cause us to reconsider.
Edward Holmes, an ordained minister and speaker, has reconsidered. He’s created a work called Fingerprints of Love and War that combines devotional discussion, Bible verses, and poetry. What results is a rather beautiful form of worship with poetry at its heart. I’ve read a lot of Christian poetry, and I’ve read a lot of Christian devotionals, but I’ve never read a work that combined the two, at least until now.
He begins with fingerprints. Each of us has unique fingerprints. Similarly, Holmes says, each of us is created with a unique, specific plan, and he follows with poems about image and what it’s like to deny our true identity. He moves to love, noting that each of us was created from Love to love. He follows with poems like “Musings of the Master” and “Harmony.” And then there is war, the opposition we face in our day-to-day lives to live as we are designed to live. Here we have a long poem entitled “Edge,” which explains how we are to live our lives.
The words here are deep ones, thoughtful ones, and thoughtfully considered ones. The poems and devotional discussions fit together like a map to provide direction (one poem is, in fact, entitled “Compass”).
In both poetry and prose, Fingerprints of Love and War bursts through the traditional boundaries that separate genres, much like the bearer of the message did 2,000 years ago.
Top photograph by Jon Tyson via. Used with permission.