A cup of coffee.
A quiet corner of a coffee shop.
This has all the makings of a great night.
An older man named Robert is officiating an open mic poetry night across the shop. People read original poems, sharing their words with both friends and strangers. The mood is relaxed, people joking with each other and carrying on smalltalk all around. But when a poet begins to read, all grows silent. There is a sense of respect, or maybe reverence, for the poet and the poem.
Over the last few years, I’ve grown really interested in poetry. I love the alliteration, the rhyme, and the rhythm. I love trying to fit words and phrases onto a page like puzzle pieces. Though I haven’t read nearly as much poetry as I’d like, I’m quickly captivated by a good poem, and I try, in my poetry, to capture some of that wonder. I see the same sense of wonder in these people as they read and respond to the spoken word. As a young girl shares her profound piece on life and death, an older girl sits in amazement. Now, an old man with long dreadlocks is reading Shakespeare. Each one sees words as great gifts.
James writes that,
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
I love that God gives good gifts. The beauty of the art of language is indeed a great gift, and it is one that these people truly treasure. It is also a gift I do not ever want to take lightly. If God chose language to be the means through which he communicates his Word to the world, then language has great power. Let us then seek to use language well, to speak and write so that all may see the Creator’s glory. Whether through poetry or prose, let us take the language God has graciously given us and use it with excellence for His name’s sake. And may everyone who hears us speak (or reads our writing) recognize the mark of the Maker on our lives.