Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Poetry: A Great Resource for Lent

Education for Justice, a project of the Center for Concern, offers us a great resource for the coming Lenten season: poetry.   As this resource points out,  our connections with our Creator are enhanced when we use all our senses.  After all, poetry is to the ears what art is to the eyes. 
Using poetry as a companion for prayer can be a rich and engaging endeavor. Poetry as an art form uses the cadences of the spoken word, the nuances of language, the signals of punctuation and the employment of metaphors to invite the listener into participation in the unfolding of layers of meaning. Words can provide a bridge to experiences that are beyond words.
When you download the guide, entitled Lenten Poetry Companion; Poems for Prayer and Pondering,  you will find verses from familiar poets like Mary Oliver, Joyce Rupp, Denise Levertov, Maya Angelou and Wendell Berry. And there are poems from authors unfamiliar to me.  The great resource, recommended by JustFaith Ministries, is organized to guide you through the Lenten season, including a few blank lines at the bottom of each page to write your own thoughts.

Below is a from a poem by Joyce Rupp for the Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent.

Photo by Carlos Navarro
Compassionate God,
your generous presence
is always attuned to hurting ones.
Your listening ear is bent
toward the cries of the wounded
Your heart of love
fills with tears for the suffering.

Turn my inward eye to see
that I am not alone.
I am a part of all of life.
Each one’s joy and sorrow
is my joy and sorrow,
and mine is theirs.
May I draw strength
from this inner communion.
May it daily recommit me
to be a compassionate presence
for all who struggle with life’s pain.
-Joyce Rupp

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