Into the Book

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A poem by Elizabeth Kirkwood:

He awoke
early,
rose like He had done for so many days
in the tempus of normalcy,
and went out to a desolate place—
unknown, unnamed,
—crouched in the sand & rock
outside of town
in the pitch dark,
and digging sand into His knees
knelt
alone in the dark
on the face of the desert.

when God snapped a world
with a sun
inside of a universe
into being with words
He began with the desolate:
barren water,
earthless,
sunless,
with no ability
to give life.

He knelt
alone in the dark
on the face of a waterless,
nameless place
there he prayed
bound to the rocks under the sky.

And they found Him in the desolate places,
stretching out withered hands in the synagogues
and the deserts
to the Son who spoke words in the dark
with a Will

& the drowned stood
& the thirsty drank.

There are other ways
to save the world:
a hundred how-to books crammed in every
knock-off knock-back bookstore
on how to change the world
with less caffeine,
more money,
and eight hours of sleep a day
to fuel and reward your productive schedule.

There is no romance in sweat
and blood and oozing sores,
only stomach churns
and a small shaking in the stress
of your commute as you build
an oasis,
nurturing yourself so you can nurture others.

There are other ways to save the world,
ones full of broken hearts and
little sleep, “if you Will//I Will”
and calling people into desolation
– exhaustion – stress – hunger – thirst –
that matched their souls
so even the blind could open their eyes.

~

not from the east,
not from the west,
not even from the wilderness
where you found Him
in the tangles of your soul
comes the lifting up

~

He rose morning by morning
in desolate places
because one day
He would die in the dark
and rise in the dark
having finished
the beginning
of restoration
and He would walk you
out of the desolation
you harbor in your soul.

Fanny Crosbie wrote at least one of her most-loved hymns while her attention wandered during a sermon. This poem has a similar origin: the context of the verse being mentioned struck me and suddenly I noticed how much praying Jesus did in the wilderness–in unnamed places made barren by a broken world–frequently after spending half the night healing people equally ravaged who came to Him, and left more Whole than they had ever been before.

Elizabeth

Published on 12 October, 2016. Last updated on

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Into the Book was born out of a crazy idea of a blog that'd provide book reviews for teens. There aren't very many book review websites out there exposing awesome, high-quality Christian literature, and there are even fewer that target teenagers. Since 2009, we've been providing high-quality book reviews to the world through our blog. Into the Book has grown around reviews since then, but it remains our oldest project.

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