Acts in a State of Being
By Casey Giffen
American poet and essayist John Haines stated, “The task of the poet is to make poetry out of what happens.” Last summer, the pastoral staff embarked on a 25 Sunday-sermons series on the Book of Acts. I imagined how creative and fulfilling it’d be illustrating what happens in the Book of Acts. Sometimes, the paradox for us Christ followers is learning to balance our doing and being. Rather than an either/or enigma, following Christ is a both/and way of life.
As December approached, I thought that 25 poems would be an encouraging reminder to pause—celebrate our beingness if you will—during the season of Advent, as opposed to the busyness of the December days of shopping, partying, and rushing during tis-the-season doings that can sneak up on us if we’re not aware. So, I title the poems Acts in a State of Being (it’s the Grammar in me that differentiates between action verbs and state of being verbs). I wanted to inspire people to slow down, ponder, be present.
Along with the imaginative sermon reflections, I posted one poem daily on social media, attempting to reach an audience who has a sense of spirituality but is reticent to entertain descriptors such as God, Jesus, or church. Some do not even consider attending church because of the negative associations. If interested, you can click my website caseygiffen.com to read the commentaries for each poem that I posted.
In 1981, Haines complained that “…contemporary poetry lacks the force and conviction of ideas…” My poetic, honest ideas of the father’s love for us, his beloved, hopefully are conveyed with conviction and force. That is how I do as I live out my vocation; moreover, I can simply be as I rely on the Holy Spirit to advance the kingdom slowly, creatively with the Trinity’s conviction and force…
Prayer is the coffee grounds
sent stainless steeled
past the sink trap,
once wondering words
tasted—temporal or eternal?—
a bonded brew
seeping, filtered from
of Eden’s buds ’til
and sandy stars
dripped diamonded drops
into the chosen urn;
to the heavens far and near
to Barista’s listening ear.
Acts 3 – Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
Kindness is well-oiled wheels
rolling over uphill wills,
a compact wooden cart
overflowing ripened parts,
passion fruit that so appeals
to cobbled thoroughfares
bumping well-worn pairs;
the wheeling apparatus
upset rotten-apple-cart cares;
we patch leaking wheels’ air
until the Farmer, his eyes on you
watching from a field of golden hue
living light never darkening the day,
refills selfish thoughts spinning anew
as kindly fruit falls where it may.
To ebb with mundane fruits of ennui life
Falling straight below from broken branches
Grave-tending people shrink living chances
Relegating relationships to friends’ strife
Whenever boredom reigns. The sole relief
From plights, like a river built to dam
Up mankind’s illuminated belief
In invisible love, is so everyone can
Flow into a both-halve sense of being—
Cross born daily by dying with the Son—
And floating in a faith-filled innertube
Bobbing adventurously down stream
Intentional heart, mind, body as one
With just-in-time resources on the move.