by Marcia Lee LaycockI love poetry. I love the way poets use words so succinctly and often in ways that make me stop and ponder what the real meaning of that word is. Sometimes a word is placed so well it takes my breath away.
I received a poem in my inbox a while ago - Genius by Billy Collins, one of the poems in his collection called Aimless Love. The poem ponders the word genius, how it is used sarcastically at times and what the word really means. The poet causes us to ask ourselves, what is true genius? In the end he concludes that genius lies in ordinary things, like swans floating on a lake and he gives himself that label because he is taking the time to watch them.
The verse that made me stop was this one -
for I numbered them as Yeats had done,
deployed upon the calm, crystalline surface—
I was especially struck by the phrase, ‘deployed upon the calm.’ It’s an unusual use of the word deployed, a military term defined by dictionary.com as “to spread out troops to form an extended front; to arrange in a position of readiness.” Troops are deployed to a battlefield – a stark contrast in my mind to swans gliding across the surface of a placid lake. So it stopped me, made me think, made me ponder.
And I thought about how we too, as believers in Christ, are deployed upon the calm, sent out into the kingdom of Christ, to form an extended front, ready to do His work among His people. It is a battlefield we are sent to, one in which we fight against the darkness, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Yet we are sent out “upon the calm,” confident in Christ because we know He is ruler of all realms and all principalities. There is no need to fear, no need to be anxious about success or failure. Our position in Christ gives us a certain clear perspective.
Whether it be writing a novel or painting a portrait or cooking a family meal, we are deployed, sent out, to work “with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23,24).
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
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