Latest Reflection

Aug 23rd, 2016 by Rev. David Boyd

Reflection: August 21 — The Inspiration of Poetry

Our past Moderator of the United Church, Gary Paterson, was given an honourary doctorate for his work with poetry and language. He used to say that his sermons were usually something like 5 poems and some filler. I’m paraphrasing. He’s also known to say, “why use one word when you can use 1000.” Well, I like poetry, but I’m not nearly as eloquent as Gary!

One of the things that I like about poetry is that it lifts up the mundane and challenge us to see the world in a different way. Seemingly insignificant events or people are lifted up and given emphasis. Good poets have a way of speaking about difficult things like grief and pain, but also deeply divisive political things, and sometimes, when it comes to political things, the powers-that-be don’t even know they’re being criticized. The likes of Ernesto Cardenal in Nicaraugua or Julia Equivel from Guatemala wrote about political repression and freedom against repressive regimes. Always, there has been subversive poetry during times of oppression.

An example of taking something mundane and lifting the mundane into the plane of the divine is Billy Collins’ On Turning 10, one of my favourite poems. It goes like this:

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light-
a kind of measles of the spirit »»

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Prayers of the People: August 21

Let us join our hearts and minds as one in prayer. When you hear the words “God of blessing and peace”, please respond with “Hear our Prayers.»»

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For the Week of August 21

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
The Inspiration of Poetry



Prayers of the People: August 14

Please join me in the Prayers of the People. When you hear, “May they be held by you,” please answer with “hear our prayers.” »»


Prayers of the People: July 24

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And we pray… »»


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