Getting real with God

Lent brings a 40-day reminder to get real with God – a practice among Christians that encourages us to give serious thought to our words and actions, which better prepares us to receive the joy and power of Easter.

Instead of glossing over flaws, failures, or areas of unforgiveness, we can face our realistic struggles with doubt, fear, or worry and arrive at a new understanding of how powerful faith is — even when it’s no bigger than a mustard seed.

Jesus’ apostle Thomas understood this. Although he’d been willing to die for Christ, he didn’t want to take the word of other followers when Jesus returned from death. He needed to see for himself.

Thomas

Why did you doubt
the real live blood that sprouted
from Christ’s side and bloomed
in the room where you gathered –

   a bouquet of wine
   poured behind
   closed doors?

Could you not see the pores
opened, aching for you, always
to be, not beside yourself,
but Him?

His side lay bare to let you in,
so enter now. Come round His side
and worship Him again.

by Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2014, from poetry book Outside Eden

 

Thomas did “come round,” immediately declaring “My Lord and My God!” and that declaration carries even more impact because the Bible did not previously cover up his doubt.

The Bible does not pretend we’ll have a perfectly lived life. Expecting that can become a hindrance to our relationship with God, especially if we think we’ll have nothing but prosperous, carefree days. If, however, we expect no special exemptions from trouble — and if we believe our Perfect Father God never, ever leaves us — we’re poised to relax and take an Olympic-sized leap of faith.

Lost in Faith

Abandoned
by You, Lord?
Never!

Abandonment
by me….
Yes!

I throw myself
on Your mercy.

by Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2017, from poetry book Lost in Faith

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Resources for Christians

If you’re a communicator for Christ, as I am, you can find Writing Resources with Christian poets, writers, and pastors in mind on my website.

In addition, I hope you’ll follow these blogs, which I maintain as often as family, church, and book-writing commitments allow:

Bible Prayers
Bible Reviewer
Mary Sayler (in lieu of this site)
Poetry Editor & Poetry
Praise Poems (many of which have been compiled in the book PRAISE! and the forthcoming chapbook, WE: the people under God.)
What the Bible Says About Love

May God bless you and your good work in Christ.

Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2017

 

Minipoems plant little seeds

A quick look at a day’s headlines reminds us how fragile life is – and how fragile the earth! As Christian poets and writers, many of us can’t help but think about our loved ones who don’t know the Lord or who have fallen away. Unfortunately, it’s easy to come on so strong that our words have the opposite effect.

One way to overcome this tendency yet say what needs to be said is to find an appropriate metaphor or symbol, then pour our words into a small container such as a minipoem or aahcoo. Maybe a loved one won’t even see our poems, but someone else’s loved ones might.

To recap an earlier conversation: an aahcoo focuses on God or a spiritual matter in a maximum of 3 to 7 syllables written on 3 to 7 lines.

This example uses the traditional haiku form of 5/7/5 syllables to understate a colossal concern. Lord willing, the poem might cause readers to consider their own spiritual condition:

Angels on the pond
their tiny searchlights blinking –
I wonder who’s lost?

by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2016

 

 

What’s new? Aahcoo!

When discussing poetry, I usually post on the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog then “share” here, but this time is different. This time I’ll reverse that process to introduce you to a new form of poetry invented this week: the aahcoo.

aah + COO

If that sounds somewhat like “haiku” with missing consonants, fine. I’m happy to make a connection with that ever-popular form of syllabic verse, which has 3 lines of  5/7/5 syllables on each respective line. Also, haiku includes a little “aah” moment worth commemorating, but the quick stroke of its colorful brush concentrates on a season and nature scene. For example:

The sun and wind flash
neon fish upon the pond –
cold swim, bright shining.

Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2012 from my poetry book Living in the Nature Poem published by Hiraeth Press

Similarly senyru, which I only learned about recently, utilizes the same basic form as haiku but focuses on human nature with a twist of irony or a touch of humor. For example, I wrote the following to lament changes in once-tight skin:

Layers and layers
of crepe paper cover all
parts of her old bod.

What I’ve been looking for, however, is a form devoted exclusively to God and those little epiphanies or “Aah!” moments we sometimes have as we read the Bible, pray, or talk with Christian friends.

In making an auditory connection with haiku, “coo” came to my ear and mind, adding the connotation of a sound made by a dove. Since that sweet bird happens to be a biblical symbol for the Holy Spirit, a coo ideally suggests a poem with inspired lines or spiritual epiphany.

Having never before invented a new form of poetry, I’m unaware of any poetic protocol. All I knew was that poets have asked me about forms of micropoetry exclusively devoted to a Christian perspective, and I didn’t know of any. When I found nothing in an Internet search, I decided to do another search of various combinations of relevant prefixes and suffixes, most of which seemed to be taken except “aahcoo.” Since I liked it best anyway, a new poetry form came into being for us to pray with, play with, and write in love of God.

To define:

  • Aahcoo is a God-centered epiphany, insight, or praise in a highly flexible syllabic verse form.
  • The syllabic count must not be less than 3 syllables per line but no more than 7.
  • The syllabic count can vary from line to line.
  • The line count can be a minimum of 3 lines, a maximum of 7 lines, or a number in between.
  • The poem must mention or suggest God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit.)
  • The poem must encourage, inspire, or refresh readers.

Remember, we’re in this together. You’ve never written an aahcoo, and neither have I, so we’re starting at the same point. If you love the idea of our having a unique form, then whenever you post your aahcoo, add a hashtag, so we can find one another under #aahcoo!

Meanwhile, I looked over prior minipoems or micropoetry in my files and saw that a little tweaking brought forth the following 3 examples. The first is a haiku I’d written that wasn’t really haiku since the season could be any time of year, but we can now officially declare it an aahcoo!

Praise God – Producer
of sunsets, draping our home
in pink ribbons.

That praise poem followed a traditional 5/7/5 division of the 3 lines, which haiku, senyru, and aahcoo can do, but with the latter you have other options. In this praise poem, for example, the syllabic count is 4/4/5/4/6.

Praise Christ our Peace
bypassing all
misunderstanding –
the Great Shalom
in Whom we find our home.

Unlike the first example, my second praise poem includes a slight sound echo and a light reference to the “peace that passes all understanding,” found in Jesus Christ.

Besides the inclusion of a title, my last example of aahcoo’s versatility alludes to another biblical reference, reminding us when Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep.” As the Lord’s emissaries, disciples, and poets today, we, too, can encourage one another to tend the people of God – in aahcoos and anything else we write.

The Message

I told you so
you could hear
The Word,
take a turn
feeding our
Father’s sheep,
send out
a rescue squad.

by Mary Harwell Sayer, © 2016

 

 

 

 

 

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