The following post is by Kelly Boyer Sagert as part of the Life-Changing Scriptures for Writers Project.
“For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, The Voice)
I started to write professionally in 1990, with a small percentage of what I wrote being faith-based material. However, it took more than two decades for me to even start to think about my writing as a ministry. All changed in 2012, when I became seriously ill and ultimately had nine colon surgeries (four of them major and one of them a life-threatening emergency) in just fourteen months.
During that time, I read Writing to Wake the Soul: Opening the Sacred Conversation Within by Karen Hering. This author had worked as a journalist and then became a Unitarian Universalist minister who began a ministry of words. Themes explored in her book include “faith, prayer, sin, love, justice, hope, redemption, grace, hospitality, and reverence.”
I loved her book, no doubt. Beyond that, the underlying notion took fire in my brain: ministry of words. Wow. I’d never even considered that a person could start this kind of ministry. I emailed Hering, saying I was in awe of that concept and she responded by saying she suspected I’d someday find my own ministry of words.
Ultimately, it was Ephesians 2:10 from The Voice that felt like a calling to me. I began envisioning each person as a living poem, uniquely and brilliantly written by the direct and loving hand of God. Any poem that God wrote, I knew, couldn’t be junk – and, using that idea, I began to hold free monthly spiritual writing workshops for the community, where we explore the stanzas that God is writing for the living of our days. In what way, we discuss, is God using the rhythm and rhymes of today to achieve the good works arranged long ago?
God’s poems are multi-layered, lyrical and complex, full of rich symbolism. In our workshops, we listen for motifs, both within one person’s life and as a collective poem with a meter that resonates with multiple attendees.
Because of what I’ve learned from others who have joined in this ministry of words, I now pay closer attention when people from the past re-enter my life. What refrain is God echoing? What themes emerge in my daily cadence? What new line is God adding to the warp and woof of my life – and in the lives of people around me? Finally, how should I respond?
God, please help me to listen to the syllables, beats and pauses that you are writing in my life’s story. Help me to make each day a walking, talking and breathing poem of gratefulness and praise to you, and to make my verses ones of inclusion, community, grace and love. Amen.
Kelly Boyer Sagert’s newest book is titled Everything to God in Prayer: A Writer’s Weekly Devotional. Her two websites/blogs are www.kbsagert.com and www.everythingtogodinprayer.com. She is a founder of the Northeast Ohio’s Christian Writer’s Conference.
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