By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
Christian Wiman has an intuitive sense of divine encounter, a theological imagination that allows mystery and experience to come alive in written language and spoken word. Wiman served as editor of Poetry magazine from 2003–2013, a role that made me feel awe and wonder as I began to pursue reading poetry in more depth these last few years: poets use words to unleash, unlash, unfurl something real, true, and sacred within us. Poets help us name the presence of the Holy Spirit and give us words to wrestle with our own lived experience as our own lives become attuned to the presence of God. In that sense, poets help us pray. His biographical sketch at The Poetry Foundation includes this quote:
I have no illusions about adding to sophisticated theological thinking. But I think there are a ton of people out there who are what you might call unbelieving believers, people whose consciousness is completely modern and yet who have this strong spiritual hunger in them. I would like to say something helpful to those people.
I recommend his book My Bright Abyss, from which the poem below is excerpted. You might also like his poem Every Riven Thing which looks intimately at the relationship between pain, suffering, beauty and tenderness through the lens of God, creation and brokenness.
Let us pray:
My God my bright abyss
Into which my longing will not go
Once more I come to the edge of all I know
And believing nothing believe in this.
—Christian Wiman, b. 1966
Join Jo Forrest and your church leaders for our online Anti-Racism Study Group this Monday, July 27, 7 p.m. Prepare for the class by listening to the podcast “The difference between being ‘not racist’ and antiracist” from “TED Ideas worth spreading” and/or reading “How to Build an Antiracist World” by Ibram X. Kendi.