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Poetry of a Moved Heart

“My heart is moved; with a good word I speak this work to the king — my tongue as a pen and a skillful scribe.”

(Psalm 45:2 {45:1 in English})

Recognizing that in Jewish thought, the heart deals with the seat of the personality and intellect and not the seat of the passions, we should see the beginning of this psalm as the Sons of Korah being caught up with what later writers would call the “creative muse,” and we should not attribute what follows as a flight of emotional fancy. The poem is filled with language that engages the passions (as do most great poems), but it is also detailed and structured carefully to communicate exactly what the poet — the psalmist — intends to write under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Too often, people today assume that great works of poetry flow out of a moment of spontaneous inspiration, when truthfully the words of the poet come about with the same care and precision as the woodworker or the sculptor brings about his art. Every word and phrase is skillfully prepared and then delivered by a tongue, which acts as a skillful scribe.

Isn’t it interesting how skewed our ideas about writing poetry have become? Everything has got to come easily to the craftsman today, yet we wonder at the same time why we are not producing the works of art that were once produced in ages past. We proclaim our art to be “new” in style, but I wonder, will the works we produce today survive the scrutiny of time or will the future generations describe our own as a creative dark ages…a time where creativity was lost or otherwise squandered on pointless pursuits.

Creativity, friends, is part of the image of God that we bear and thus, as we develop creativity to the glory of Christ, we are growing in our sanctification. And perhaps, as we indeed do so, our hearts (personalities) may indeed be moved so that we may speak a good word to the King.