When we consider poetry in the Bible, we rather naturally think of the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. Many of the psalms – songs of praise, fear, anger, acceptance, and all the other human emotions – were written by David. His son and successor wrote The Song of Solomon, the book of Ecclesiastes, and most of the Book of Proverbs. In fact, when you consider all of the poetic forms used from Genesis to Malachi, you find that some 75 percent of the Bible is written in poetry.
Writer and poet Karin Fendick has called upon that poetic heritage to create From Ashes to Glory: A Psalm a Day. It is a collection of 47 poems / psalms that speaks to the worship of God, the beauty of his creation, the grace and favor of God, the brokenness of humanity, and the daily struggle of individual life. Each psalm is solidly within the tradition of poetry found in the Bible.
These are quiet psalms, designed to be read in a quiet place free of distractions. They are generally short, reflective poems. “The 11th Psalm” is a good example.
The 11th Psalm
to choose to walk surrendered
a laying down, giving over
day after day, moment by moment
this is a precious, priceless, peculiar
path, a way contrary to the world
spirit rising as flesh descends
what earthy mind can reason it out?
this, a radical, relational, remarkable
road, not by my choosing I tread
a continued dying gives way
Here Fendick is describes faith as a walk, “surrendered, a laying down,” and a laying down on a daily basis, moment by moment. It’s a walk the world cannot grasp or understand, and thus it appears foolish and futile, something beyond the limitations of human reason. It is not something psalmist chooses to do but is instead chosen to do. It is a dying, a continued dying to the ways of the world, but a dying that gives way to life.
Fendick and her husband Rick are native Canadians, and since 2014 have been serving as missionaries in Africa.
From Ashes to Glory is a cool drink of water in what we often find as the parched desert of daily life, times of stress and trial, and times of doubt.
Top photograph by Ronald Carlson via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.