Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rhyming Back to God

What follows is merely an observation, not necessarily biblical, but I feel fairly certain that it is not unbiblical, if that makes any sense.

God said, “Let us make man in our image …” and there are many opinions on what the image means.

One of my favorite opinions says that image means imprint, that God put His imprint on us when He created us and that only He can fill the spot that is left by the imprint. We try to find things to fill that spot, but it is reserved for God and anything less than God will be unfulfilling and unsatisfying. I don’t know why for certain, but I like that one.

Another opinion is that the image is God’s reflection in us that is to reflect back to God – the way we glorify Him. In other words, the more we are like him – contain and reflect his image – the more we glorify Him.

I get the sense of an echo when I think of the second opinion above. God’s character and nature reflected back to God like an echo. Another analogy might be a rhyme. The idea that we can rhyme back to God in the melody of creation and life is attractive to the poet in me. It seems more than just a coincidence that David, the song writer and poet (a man who made rhymes), was called a man after God’s own heart.

Okay that is the setup; what follows is the observation that I feel is interesting and challenging, but which I don’t necessarily feel is strictly biblical.

In Hebrew poetry, there is no rhyme. Or is there? (More on that shortly) In Hebrew poetry, the second phrase repeats the thought or sentiment of the first using different words.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;

He heard my cry for mercy. Ps. 116:1

another example:

The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Ps. 27:1

Both sentences of the phrase say the same thing, they just use different words. The rhyme is not in what it sounds like, but in what it means. (Is that spiritual rhyming?)

I love that. Just like we are to echo back to God his character in us, the man who was called the man after God’s own heart, wrote poetry that echoed back the first thought in the second. What a testimony! I wonder if a man after God’s own heart might mean that his life rhymed back God’s character to God.

In Western poetry, the second phrase repeats a word or phrase that sounds like a word or phrase of the first. It merely has to sound like the first. The words or phrase can have an entirely opposite meaning, but as long as they sound similar, they satisfy the rhyme.

Oh, how much that represents contemporary spirituality and ideas of faith. As long as our lives approximate or sound like they are on track, it is okay. Instead of echoing back the real thing, trying to reflect the glory of God, we are content to be only an echo that sort-of, sounds like the original.

In the past few years, our song rhyming has gotten even sloppier in that words no longer have to have the same sound at all – they can just be close (and sometimes not so close).

I find that to be very convicting because I find it to be very true about me.

Father in heaven, help me to rhyme back to you the real thing. I pray my life redounds to your glory by magnifying Christ in my life and not something that merely, sort-of, sounds like Christ. I want it to be the real thing.

Because of who Jesus is … Amen.

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