I have been reading the poetry of Amy Carmichael recently. There’s something about poetry that really grabs you in a different way than prose. It opens your emotions and your heart. For me it breaks me out of my intellectualism and gets my head out of the clouds and brings me back to earth.
As I read this morning there was a poem called, “Expectancy”, that captured something that has been rolling around in my heart and head. It gave words to this ever growing sense in me of the ever present “already but not yet” reality of being a Christian. As I wade through the section of Scripture about the exile of God’s people I am seeing so many connections to our own time.
Peter says that we are sojourners and exiles. Why? Because we are part of Jesus’ kingdom and his kingdom is not of this world. We wait for it, with expectancy. So, we live with the knowledge that the kingdom isn’t here yet. This tension is strong in my experience right now that I could cut it with a knife.
Carmichael, for me in this moment, has the words:
The mountains hold their breath;
The dark plain wispereth,
“Hush, O thou singing rivulet,
The sun hath not come yet.”
The dawn-wind bloweth cold,
On fen and fell and world,
And heavy dews the lowlands wet –
But he hath not come yet.
And now the silver star
That far can see, doth far
And farther call, “The time is set,
And he will not forget.”
Lord of the morning star,
Lord of the singing brook,
Lord of the peaks that to a far
And clear horizon look –
Lord of the delicate
Faith flush in lighted air,
I with all this would watch and wait,
Rejoicing and aware.
(As published in “Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael”)
The last two lines catch me up short: “I with all this would watch and wait, rejoicing and aware.“
May we ever be rejoicing and aware of the reality that “The time is set, and we will not forget.” It is the already, not yet.