Genesis 1 is one of my favorite passages in the whole of scripture, telling us so much about who God is and about who we are and about who we are meant to be.
It reads like poetry, but that doesn’t stop me from finding new ways to state the truth I find there, and that causes me to read it anew and receive it as if for the first time.
This is the most recent project that sprung from the very dramatic opening to this very dramatic story called life.
An unabridged version of the poem I wrote can be read below.
Before everything was nothing.
Then breath passed past the lips of God;
words rocketed into the dark.
And the nothing blinked and burst into bright, trembling being.
When the dust finally settled
from all the commotion
of making mountains and oceans
and all the rest,
this dust was blown about with ease by the breeze,
an endless parcel of unremarkable particles.
Then, into this dust—
this crust of the earth—
came the very hand of God.
From dust he brought about beauty
until from the dirt he’d hewn the
perfect and priceless.
But breathless, lifeless, far less
than what he had in mind
For his kindness
has always had more in store for us.
So he leaned in quite close.
And thus, into this dust
he breathed life.
And what am I to do with this breathing in and out
but to lift my voice in Worship?
That is breath’s very purpose.
The thing that’s of worth is this
raising of praise!
But can this mouth speak your name
when marked by the shame
of the things I’ve said?
All the unwholesome talk that comes out of it,
that spouts from it?
These lips are not worthy
to give worth to Thee.
So I will say a prayer like Isaiah
for I am a creature of unclean lips.
Touch the hot coal of your grace to this
mouth so I can cry holy.
can I come to
form the words due you
For your words brought all things
into the persistence of existence
and my words come at the insistence
of your breath in my lungs,
of a work in me that’s been done
and is still doing
the work of reworking
this dust into finer stuff.
So these knees sink down to the dust
as they must
in adoration of you.
And though praise may fall from my lips ceaselessly
they will fail to be
enough to give due to
the wonder of you who
gave me breath.
Yet until the day when you lay this body to rest
in the blessed
dust where it began…
from this dust will rise the cries