Prayer and Poetry
Literature, Art, Architecture, Film, Theater, Music – all the creative arts serve as testaments to man’s genius. The Psalms, The Sistine masterpiece, Notre Dame, The Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar. Handel’s Messiah – they’re not even a tenth of man’s celebration of life and the glorification of his Ultimate Source.
Another field where man’s creativity and initiative changed the world, is science. This gives an interesting paradox. On one hand, the timeless conflict between science and religion on man’s origin, and on the other, almost all the men and women who made this world a better place, from Pasteur to Edison, from Fleming to Einstein, -- believe in God. Achievements in science “bring fulfillment and a great deal of reverence,” according to physicist Edward Kolb of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. “This brings too, a humbling,” added Newsweek. “For science can never answer why the generative laws are what they are – nor how they were created.”
Literature, like all artistic endeavors, is about expression. Poetry has evolved throughout the centuries but the driving force has remained the same. From Homer to Dante to Shakespeare to Keats, down to intimate jottings in hidden diaries – all symbolize the yearning for a creative outlet, finding fruition with pen, paper and collected thoughts.
Poets have used their God given talents to glorify Him. When Milton was nearly blind, he wrote: “…God doth not need/ either man’s work or his own gifts; who best/ Bear his mild yoke, they serve Him best, his state/ is kingly.”
Surrendering to a Higher Power means letting go of the ego. “No pity Lord, could change the heart/ From red with wrong to white as wool;/ The rod must heal the sin; but Lord,/ Be merciful to me, a fool!” wrote Edward Rowland Sill in The Fool’s Prayer. This sense of humility in underscored by Sidney Lanier in his A Ballad of Trees and the Master: “Into the woods my Master came,/ Forspent with love and shame./ But the olives were not blind to Him,/ The little gray leaves were kind to Him:/ The thorn tree had a mind to Him/ When into the woods He came.”
One of the most beautiful poems ever written is In Memoriam A.H.H. by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It is a tribute to a beloved friend who just died, -- and a prayer of love, hope, courage and faith: “Forgive these wild and wandering cries,/ Confusions of a wasted youth;/ Forgive them where they fail in truth,/ And in Thy wisdom, make me wise.”
Let us close with a prayer – Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind by John Greenleaf Whittier: “Drop Thy still dews of quietness,/ ‘Til all our strivings cease;/ Take from our
souls the strain and stress,/ And let our ordered lives confess/ The beauty of Thy peace.”