H ave you ever had something stirring in your mind and you wanted to speak it, but for many reasons you couldn’t? Maybe you could not find the right words, or perhaps you thought you had too much to lose if you said it. So the idea stayed inside burning in your soul. I’ve had moments when I had something to say, but it didn’t fall within the predominate opinion of the group so I buttoned my lip. I didn’t think I was allowed to give an alternative word. My inability to speak made me angry and shameful at the same time. I wanted help. Finally, some brave girl spoke the words that I was thinking, and she said it so well, better than I could have, and it was perfect! Yes. I was glad that my idea was heard, and I contributed to the conversation by simply saying, “I agree with her!”
Have you ever had an alternative feeling burning deep inside, but for whatever reason you couldn’t speak it? As Christians this is where the Psalms can be most powerful. The “poet” is a way of describing the writer/speaker of the Psalms, and this poet often speaks to God in ways that we would not dare, but deep inside we’ve wondered the same things. When I read the Psalms, I feel like declaring, “That’s what I wanted to say! Finally, someone said it.” “Finally comes the Poet” is about that.
“Finally Comes the Poet” is a series of sermons about a group of people who were waiting for someone to come along who dares speak to God in real ways. It is based on the idea that your relationship with God is not immune to the surprises and costs of our daily life, and that God can handle what you are truly feeling and thinking. Unfortunately, we don’t speak the words our hearts beg us to speak, and we don’t dare ask either. We tell ourselves those feelings and thoughts are silly and a waste of time, and we push them way down into the part of our minds where we keep certain thoughts from disturbing us.
Finally comes the Poet. The Poet is that incredibly courageous one who throws all caution to the wind, who gives up pretending that he or she is something they are not, who is fed up with the world the way that it is, and brashly pronounces the risky words. Her speech is daring and offensive to some, but for Christians who’ve felt muzzled all their lives, they are thankful that the Poet has arrived. Finally someone is saying it. Finally someone is declaring the things that I’ve felt for a long time. I thought I was alone.
The Poet speaks a word about so many things. For instance, when we start feeling that our success is of our own making, finally comes the Poet to speak the convicting word that it was God’s victory not our own.
We are going to place these Psalms into categories based on our own seasons, turns, and crises in life: Orientation, Disorientation, and New Orientation. These classifications or categories are not precise, but in looking at the Psalms this way, it not only help us to understand the Psalms, but it helps the Psalms minister more effectively to us.
The Psalms have an ability to pastor us, to care for us. They speak to God on our behalf those things that we’ve felt but didn’t know how to say. Or, as often the case, we felt we shouldn’t say it lest we be accused of having a lack of faith. The Psalms have the audacity to say out loud the things we only wish we could.
Finally comes the Poet to speak the dangerous prayer that sounds so close to heresy. The Psalms, as we will see, are not holy in the way we usually understand the word “holy.” The word holy means to be set apart, but these Psalms seem to speak out of a nearness, the triumphs and miseries connected to our human condition. Because of that, the Psalms are our closest friends. When we feel like cheering but are embarrassed, they cheer for us. When we feel like being vulnerable but are too prideful, they speak the humble words for us. They remind us that we are frail creatures of dust.
They may know you better than your spouse knows you. For instance, pretend that there was some secret sin in your life that you wouldn’t confess to anyone in the world, but the confession is still inside of you. Finally comes the Poet and speaks Psalm 51 from the deep places of your heart, “Have mercy on me, oh God, according to your unfailing love.”
Like the Holy Spirit, the Psalms comfort, they convict, and they communicate on
This sermon series is about the prayer that you have been wanting and waiting for all of your life. Finally, the Poet comes and speaks those unspeakable words into being. And as he does, light and hope are born within you.