Wedding Invitation Poem
Fall, 2001. I wrote this poem to put on our wedding invitations. It was fueled by the love of God described in Romans 8:38-39 and the love between Solomon and his bride in Song of Solomon 8:7.
Our Wedding, December 20, 2002. I wrote ”Gain” over the course of a few weeks before our wedding so that we could give it away as our wedding favors. It’s an exhortation that reflects our heart for the church and what we believe it really means to follow Christ.
True Love - Psalm 136
Valentine’s Day, 2003. For this particular Valentine’s Day, I decided to write Cindi a poem. It’s a poetic paraphrase of Psalm 136 which is a celebration of God’s faithful love to Israel. The constant refrain “For His lovingkindness is everlasting” occurs every other line in the psalm, drowning the reader in the relentless grace of God. I tried to bring this out in the poem with my own refrain. I am eternally grateful that I have been blessed with a wife who spends her life rejoicing in the love and triumph of God.
Messiah - Isaiah 53
Christmas, 2003. Instead of sending out traditional Christmas cards and giving little trinkets to our extended friends and family, Cindi and I wanted to do something that would be unique and meaningful and encouraging for the Christmas of 2003. I decided to try my hand at a poetic paraphrase of Isaiah 53. I’ve posted the entire chapter from the New American Standard Version above the poem because the poem follows the passage, sometimes quite closely and at other times more loosely.
Valentine’s Day, 2004. I was asked by our church in Oklahoma to write a poem that could be read at a Valentine’s Day banquet put on by the youth group as a missions fundraiser. I thought it would be most fitting to tie together the themes of love and missions, which isn’t hard to do since they’re inseparable. “Ripple” was the result.
House of Mourning
2005. “House of Mourning” was my attempt to meditate on and verbalize what I was learning over the course of a 6-12 month period when I attended more funerals than any other season of my life. Throughout this time I was consistently pierced by Ecclesiastes 7:2 which basically says that going to a funeral is better than going to a feast because funerals teach lessons. Thinking deeply and honestly about your own death has a way of blowing away the worldly fluff that distracts you from what’s most important. In this poem I tried to communicate how the “house of mourning” does this.
Lynda Varner’s Funeral, Saturday, July 9, 2005. My most influential college professor and a true friend is Dr. Will Varner at The Master’s College. He taught me Greek over the last three years of my Biblical Languages degree along with Old Testament, Intertestamental Period, Advanced Hermeneutics, and the Apostolic Fathers. He means a lot to me. In the summer of 2005, his twenty-six year-old daughter Lynda was killed suddenly in a car accident. She was a classmate of mine, and she was intelligent, gifted, and vivacious. Her parents loved her tenderly and tenaciously. This was my attempt to encourage my friend and mentor, who was hurting more than I could ever imagine.
Judah’s Six-Month Birthday, June 20, 2006. In the midst of our lengthy adoption process, I wrote this poem to my son. In 2006, June 18 was Father’s Day and June 20 was Judah’s six-month birthday. On June 19, the day in between, I finished and printed “See,” which is based on a picture that my good friend Jeff had taken while in Uganda visiting Judah. The picture quickly became my favorite because of the burning wonder that’s so evident behind Judah’s dark-brown eyes. This poem is a conversational meditation about my son, and a prayer. Take a good look into his eyes before you read.
Cindi’s 26th Birthday, July 18, 2006. This was my birthday present for Cindi in 2006. We put it in Judah’s baby room. It is my praise of Cindi, my prediction of what kind of mother she will be, and my plea to God that Judah might grow strong and tall in years to come and might bless his mother for how she will have raised him.