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This collage of tears and laughter,
Wanderings toward promise and much later
What seems the murder of the Promise.
Of Isaac freed and Jephthah’s daughter burnt,
Of Hannah’s prayers and Mary’s questions,
The amens and the selahs, the nails of ark and cross.

In the procession behind the lifted cross,
The Scripture, too, is held aloft.
It shapes us. We hear it, sing it,
Plunge into God’s saving action through it.

It molds space, creates the paraments,
The carvings, the windows filled with story.
Flames and lilies at the altar, these too
From Scripture. Each image a tale, the gospel
A story linking each person in these pews
With every other one who has held
Out her hand for bread, his body.

The book is Word, and Christ the Word made flesh.
The language both complex and simple,
Formed between tongue and lips,
Pronounced, tasted, incarnate.

Jill Peláez Baumgaertner

Jill Peláez Baumgaertner is Professor Emerita of English and former Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies at Wheaton College. She also serves as poetry editor of the Christian Century.

One Comment

  • Thomas Boogaart says:

    Sometimes one phrase opens a door …a new insight, a pattern not seen before: …the nails of ark and cross.