Conveying biblical truth in writing by Claire Musters
I write devotionals very regularly, but I recently had the unexpected task of producing a piece of writing that reflected a biblical passage without revealing where the inspiration came from.
My dad was getting married again and had asked my husband and I to speak at the wedding. We had agreed, and decided to base our talk around Colossians 3:12–14. Then came the phone call saying that, as it was to be a civil ceremony, their council allowed no religious texts and we couldn’t mention God at all either. They also wanted to see the final transcript for our talk by the following week!
My husband was busy preparing his preach for that weekend, which meant he wouldn’t have time to work further on the wedding talk until the deadline day. So, somewhat flippantly, I said, ‘How about I write a poem based on the passage we were going to read out? We can then talk around it.’ Everyone agreed, I got off the phone and then wondered why I had volunteered myself for such a task!
I began to feel slightly anxious about using, but in fact not using, a biblical passage. I didn’t want to take away from what it was saying but also wanted to ensure I included imagery that everyone would be able to connect with.
In the end, the inspiration came quickly as I re-read a blog post I had written a few years previously about ‘dressing our spirits’. I was able to produce the poem without too much difficulty.
On the day, we conveyed the message that we wanted to and, from the responses we got from guests, gave people a challenge to take away and really think about.
I have included the poem here for you to see. While this may have been my first foray into writing poetry based on the ideas in a particular scripture, I have sometimes used the imagery in a psalm to help me write my own in my journal.
Over to you: in what ways does scripture inspire your writing?
I stand at the wardrobe
I stand at the wardrobe, choosing my outfit carefully;
Ensuring it matches to create the look I’m after today.
But do I choose my attitudes so carefully?
Do I ever consider how I clothe myself with them?
When I look over to say good morning to you,
Is it love that is covering my words?
Or is there a hint of tension or anger within them,
Left over from a difficult conversation yesterday?
How do I react to you throughout the day –
When I’m busy, harassed, trying to get things done?
Is love still clothing my attitudes, my words, my actions?
If they were cut open would love be running through?
What about compassion, patience and gentleness?
Do I forgive quickly if you offend me?
Am I careful not to point out your shortcomings
And those moments when you do things differently to me?
I choose today to not only clothe my body, but to consider my attitudes too.
I choose today to put on love above all else.
To actively cultivate the best of attitudes towards you,
Will you choose to love me in this way too?
Claire is a freelance writer, speaker and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on authenticity, marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Into Managing Conflict, Insight Into Self-acceptance, Cover to Cover: David A man after God’s own heart, Insight Into Burnout and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes Bible study notes. She has two books being published in November: Taking off the mask: learning to live authentically, with Authentic Media, and Cover to Cover: 1–3 John Walking in the truth, with CWR. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.