Watercolour pattern of deep oranges and browns, with lighter colours at the sides. Text over the top: The Spirit declares (a poem for Pentecost, part inspired by the book of Hebrews)

The Spirit declares (a poem for Pentecost – part inspired by the book of Hebrews)

Last week I found out a friend was preaching on the book of Hebrews on the day of Pentecost (today). I mentioned that last year I’d written a poem for Pentecost that I was particularly proud of. He asked if it related to the topic of priests and priesthood, to which the answer was, “No, but maybe I will have one by this evening.”

I didn’t quite manage to finish the poem that day, but I did write one.

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Triquetra (symbol of the Trinity) in pastel colours against a dark background. Text: Three haikus on the Trinity. Faith in Grey Places

Three haikus on the Trinity (a poem)

It’s said that it’s hard to pack anything of substance into such a short poetry form. (Haikus are a Japanese type of poem with three lines. The first has five syllables, the second seven, and the third five.) To be sure, it’s not easy, but it can be done. 

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Triquetra (symbol of the Trinity) in pastel colours against a dark background. Text: A palindrome poem on the Trinity. Faith in Grey Places.

A palindrome poem on the Trinity (a poem) (part inspired by Ephesians 1:7-10)

Also called “reverse” poems, palindrome poems are ones where the lines are read forwards and then again backwards.

And this poem on the Trinity is absolutely one of my favourites.

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White wooden dove decoration on a wooden surface

Isaiah 11:1–9: The King of Peace (a poem)

Continuing the series of poems drawing on the scripture readings in a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Strictly speaking, the reading for today is Isaiah 11:1–3a;4a;6–9.

When I looked at this passage, the thing that stayed with me most was the concept of a hendiadys. Literally meaning “one from two,” a hendiadys is where a single thought is expressed in two words joined with “and”. 

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String of white paper hearts against a black background with the words: Songs of the Spirit: love

Songs of the Spirit: love (a poem)

Today is the last in my series on the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. It’s on love.

As a neurodiverse person, I’ve had a somewhat reluctant relationship with the word “love.” Growing up, people usually described it in terms of emotions that I either didn’t experience, or didn’t experience in the ways that everyone else did. 

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Photo of a bride's face in a mirror. She wears a pearl pendant and looks to the side with a small smile on her face. Words over the top: Songs of the Spirit: joy. Faith in Grey Places

Songs of the Spirit: joy (a poem)

This is part of a series of poems on the virtues described as the fruit the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Honestly, I didn’t know where I was going to begin with today’s poem. 

I’d been told plenty of times before that joy is not the same as happiness and that you can have joy even when you’re not happy. As I wrestled to make sense of this, I concluded that joy must be like a sense of inner security that one carries in all circumstances. But isn’t that what peace is about?

I think joy is much more about delight and appreciation.

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Close up of a white lily flower opening above water with the sun reflecting off the water and leaves. Text: Songs of the Spirit: peace. Faith in Grey Places

Songs of the Spirit: peace (a poem)

This is part of a series of poems on the virtues described as the fruit the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Today’s word is peace. 

I’m almost embarrassed to write about peace, given that I can be anxious so often. I don’t want to write something that feels disconnected from our present reality, and yet I believe most surely that God’s peace has a completeness and depth that will surpasses everything we could hope for. 

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Close up for an hourglass standing on pebbles titled slightly; the hourglass has a dark wooden frame with blue sand flowing through it. Words over the top: Songs of the Spirit: patience. Faith in Grey Places

Songs of the Spirit: patience (a poem)

This is part of a series of poems on the virtues described as the fruit the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Once again, I’ve taken out my concordance and found out some surprising facts about the New Testament Greek. 

I like to think of patience as “love waiting”, as something that exists in its own right separate from any sense of sin or fallenness. But it’s still true that most of the uses of “patience” in the Bible are linked to the world not (yet) being as it should be.

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A cluster of shelled hazelnuts on a white surface. Text: Songs of the Spirit: kindness. Faith in Grey Places

Songs of the Spirit: kindness (a poem)

This is part of a series of poems on the virtues described as the fruit the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. There is nothing like kindness to cement a friendship. 

It’s that feeling of “you didn’t have to do this” that makes it so memorable. The kindness might be a gift in a moment of need, a gentle steer away from a pitfall you didn’t know was there, or someone accommodating you when you make a mistake. 

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Close up image of a fresh fig cut in half on a wooden chopping board with walnut pieces. Words over the top: Songs of the Spirit: goodness, Faith in Grey Places

Songs of the Spirit: goodness (a poem)

This is part of a series of poems on the virtues described as the fruit the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Once again, I’m struck by how much I discover when I get out my concordance and start looking at the Greek words. 

Take, for example, Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:17 where he says that every “good” tree bears “good” fruit. These are two different words in the Greek, but many English translations render both words as “good”. 

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Close up inside the curl of a large crashing wave, with a smooth surface, lit by the sun. Words on top: Songs of the Spirit: Faithfulness, Faith in Grey Places

Songs of the Spirit: faithfulness (a poem)

This is part of a series of poems on the virtues described as the fruit the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Faithfulness is such a big word. I think if there’s one thing, just one thing that God wants us to know about him, it’s that he is someone who fulfils his good promises. And of course, faithfulness is a huge part of that. 

As I sat and considered the word in more detail, five words came to me:

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Close up of an elephant touching its tusk with the tip of its trunk. Words: Songs of the Spirit: gentleness. Faith in Grey Places

Songs of the Spirit: gentleness (a poem)

For the next few weeks, I’m writing a series of poems on the virtues described as the fruit the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. I started with self-control last week, and this week is gentleness.

I found out some interesting things about the Greek word translated as “gentleness”. The word is πραύτης meaning “meekness”, “gentleness” or “humility” and it’s the same word used in the beatitudes in Matthew 5:5 (“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”). 

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