The Theatre of God's Glory

In my re-reading of Peterson's "The Contemplative Pastor" recently I have been struck by his comparison of poet and pastor, which in turn has encouraged me to go back to reading some of my favourite poets. I'm currently reading some of Seamus Heaney's early stuff, drawn from his experiences growing up in rural Ulster. I suppose it registers with me because it is reminiscent of some of the stories my Dad used to tell about growing up around Cookstown, not too far from where Heaney haled from. However, the more I read Heaney, the more I'm depressed at my own juvenile-esque attempts at poetry...
That said, I recognise in Heaney another theme that Peterson focuses on in "The Contemplative Pastor", that of the natural world as "The theater (sic) of God's glory." This was a phrase of John Calvin, but, as Peterson points out, Calvin may have recognised the natural world as such a theatre, but he never seems to have sat down to enjoy the show...
Almost 10 years ago I wrote the following performance poem, inspired by that phrase, for a show by New Irish Arts celebrating creation and creativity, in honour of their 10th Anniversary (how time flies)... It was originally a 2 voice piece for the end of the first act... But here it is as a straightforward poem... I thought it picks up on my declared theme for Lent of "Discerning the Desert Flower..." Though it's not a patch on Heaney...


The theatre of God’s glory;
A stage lit by the sun, the moon, and myriad stars;
An ever changing backdrop of sky and land and sea;
A cast of untold billions,
Yet each one known intimately by the Director
Who urges all to play their part to the full,
Directing every step… watching over every word,
Intricately weaving everyone into a beautiful ballet.
Accompanied not by music from the pit,
But from above and beyond.

The drama played out on that stage
Far surpasses anything that even Shakespeare could write,
Never mind an infinite number of chimpanzees
bashing away on an infinite number of typewriters.
Such a script is not the product of statistical happenstance
But the inspired improvisation of the Author and Director
Of all.

In a drama of life and death
Of new life and infinite opportunities
The tragedy of good gone bad…
The comedy of creator become creature
A true theatre of the absurd…
The first act has ended
The curtain of death has fallen and Christ has risen.
But the performance continues
Prompted by the Spirit
Until, at last, the final curtain falls
And the applause of heaven rings out.

Selah

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