A Sonnet in Response to Psalm 65

 

By strength you founded mountains high and grand.
You still the roaring seas and streams abate.
From dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn your hand
Brings forth rejoicing, glory crowns your gate.

Your awesome deeds, your valiant acts so great.
Sustain our life, and give your servants care.
A pathway to your temple you create,
All people walk within its pathways fair.

Iniquity, the deeds we sadly dare,
They overwhelm us, past our strength to face.
Yet you forgive us, take us in your care,
Providing joy and welcome in your place.

So praise to you will always be our song.
All glory, honor, strength to you belong.

(Image credit: Openclipart.org. Every so often I like to play with poetic forms. This one is trying to be a Spenserian sonnet. And no, I don’t imagine myself an actual poet.)

Writing Christian Fiction – An Interview with Kimberly Gordon

I think this might be of interest to readers of this blog. I’ll be talking specifically about Christian fiction tonight with Kimberly Gordon, author of Energion titles Please Love Me, Allegheny Hideaway, Prayer Trilogy, and It’s in the Bag. Join us at 7:00 pm central time, January 10, 2017. You can ask questions or make comments via the chat application.

Here’s the viewer:


Genesis Wasn’t Written This Way

After some weeks on the mountain, the Lord looked over Moses’ shoulder.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

This is a work of fiction. Normally I’d say that all the characters and events are products of my imagination, lest anyone imagine they find themselves in the story and not like what they see. But in this case I write in the serene confidence that nothing like this happened anywhere, ever, to anyone. Copyright © 2014
Henry E. Neufeld

“What are you doing, Moses?”

“Well, Lord, I’m trying to write up that stuff about how You created everything.”

“I think there could be a few problems with what you’ve written there.”

“Problems? It’s just the introduction! And You did, didn’t You?”

“Well, apart from the fact that readers many centuries from now are going to debate whether you mean ‘in the beginning God created’ or ‘when God began to create’—this whole writing without vowels thing does leave room for ambiguity—it’s not really balanced.”

“Balanced?”

“Yes, the ‘heavens’ and the ‘earth’ are just not quite of similar size, weight, and importance.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I know you don’t, Moses. Let me explain.” There was a pause. It was not that the Almighty didn’t know what he wanted to say, but even His great servant Moses might have trouble understanding. “Your ‘earth’ is just one tiny world among many. Let’s call it a planet. Your ‘sun’ doesn’t ‘rise’ in the east and set in the west. Rather, your ‘earth’ rotates on its axis. In turn, it orbits—that means ‘goes around in a huge circle—the sun. All those stars in the ‘heavens’ are just like your sun. Many of them have planets themselves. Some of the planets right here in your solar system—that’s all the planets that go around your sun—are bigger than your earth. There are lots and lots of these stars and planets. Your earth is really a very small thing.”

“Lots? You mean hundreds?”

“More than that, Moses.”

“Thousands?”

“More.”

“Tens of thousands?”

“Lost more. I don’t think you know any numbers that are big enough.”

“Oh.”

“You can see that it’s a little silly to refer to ‘everything’ as ‘the heavens’ and ‘the earth’, can’t you?”

There was a pause again. “So what do You want me to do Lord?”

“I want you to explain it to them. You’ll tell them about all these wonderful things, and then you’ll tell them that I created all that!”

Moses muttered something.

“What was that, Moses? I didn’t hear you!”

“Pardon the disrespect, Lord, but I was saying that we’d be lucky if they listened for that long.”

“But you’ll make them understand! You’ll explain it and they’ll listen!”

“But I don’t understand it myself. It’s obvious to me that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and passes under the earth to return to its circuit. Everybody knows that!”

“So what do you suggest?”

Later the Lord looked over Moses’s shoulder.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and empty, and God’s wind was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ …”

“That’s not how I did it,” the Lord muttered. “But I guess Moses knows his business!”

A Fresh Perspective – II

(See also A Fresh Perspective I)

The church council didn’t know what to do. Well, that isn’t precisely true. Individually they did know what to do, but they didn’t all know the same thing, and no one plan of action was acceptable to all the members.

This is a work of fiction. All persons, places, and things are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance of anything or anyone in the story to anything or anyone in the real world is coincidental.
Copyright © 2012,
Henry E. Neufeld.

Here was their problem. They had dozens of young people coming to events at the church. They played basketball in the gym. They played softball on the softball fields. Many of them even went to Sunday School.

The power bill on the gym was going up, and there was no money to pay it. The softball fields needed more and more maintenance, and there was no money to pay that either. The Sunday School classes needed more materials, but there was no money for that. They needed more teachers, but there were not enough volunteers.

Some thought the problem was that the church didn’t trust in God enough. They proposed a month of fasting and prayer that God would provide the money.

Others thought that the problem was that these were children whose parents didn’t go to the church. They wondered why they had to spend money on children whose parents weren’t interested enough to support the church with their time and money. They suggested the children should go to church wherever their parents did. They just looked blank when someone mentioned that very few, maybe none, of those parents went to church.

Some thought they should try to get a grant somewhere, they weren’t sure where.

Then one retired lady who had spent her entire life working with the children started asking questions.

“Isn’t there something in the church budget we could give up?” she asked. “Perhaps we don’t need new hymnals this year.” Everyone was so stunned at this suggestion that silence fell, and she was able to continue. “Surely the children are more important than the appearance of our hymnals!” she continued.

“And to all you praying folk. Are you going to show up to help? Will the money you save by not buying food while you fast help the budgetary problems?”

“I know my granddaughter loves to work with children, but nobody has asked for her help. I’m told she’s too young, but is she really?” Again there was silence.

“And has anyone considered contacting these parents? You seemed surprised at the suggestion they might not attend church. Most people in our community don’t—attend church, that is.”

After a short pause she finished. “The only new thing I think we need here is a fresh perspective!”

(This story is an alternative to the one I wrote for the One Word at a Time blog carnival on the word “Fresh.”)