As laid out in the Holy Bible, the Old Testament reading from Isaiah for this Sunday (Dec. 11) looks like poetry. Poetry in scripture.
Along with Isaiah, numerous other books in the Bible include poetic passages, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon, to name a few. The Apocrypha also contains books with poetical passages such as Baruch, Sirach and Wisdom of Solomon.
As I was thinking about this, my mind then went to “poetry in motion.” Surely, I’ve heard this somewhere before. Who knew that it was a '60s pop song “Poetry in Motion” sung by teen idol Johnny Tillotson. Released in 1960, he performed it on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” It peaked at No. 2 and stayed on the charts for 15 weeks.
I was not even born yet, but my curiosity is vast. How and where do I conjure up these things? Inquiring minds, including mine, want to know.
Anyone who loves Handel’s Messiah loves the words of Isaiah. These words are so singable, just as any poetry worth its salt is. I remember being fascinated by Isaiah’s words as a child: “The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)
This Sunday’s passage (Isaiah 35:5-7) is just as poetic:
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
Something about the way these beautifully poetic passages are printed in the Bible tells me that I should pay more attention. I realize that we are talking only about “formatting,” as we say in contemporary computer-speak, but I believe there is a true message here.
Be comforted by these words. Be blessed by these words. Pay close attention to these words. Do particularly what these words say. Heed especially the message of these words. And in our daily lives, put this poetry in scripture into motion.
“Poetry in Motion,” sung by Johnny Tillotson (1960), Copyright ©1960 Cadence Records, lyrics by Ronald L. Mack, Copyright ©1960 Universal Music Publishing Group.