True Prophecy, Real Poetry, Spirit-led Ministry

March 4, 2021 § 1 Comment

True prophecy’s job was to invoke the presence of God, to speak in God’s own voice on God’s behalf. This was true in the age of Isaiah and Amos, the time of Jesus, the words of Fox and Pennington. 

One of the criteria for including the work of a prophet in the ancient Hebrew canon, the Law and the Prophets, was the quality of the poetry. God would not speak in bad poetry.

In The White Goddess, the poet, writer, and mythologist Robert Graves’s chaotic and magnificent manifesto masterpiece on the origins and nature of (true) Western poetry, he defines the purpose of poetry thus: “The function of poetry is religious invocation of the Muse; its use is the experience of mixed exaltation and horror that her presence excites.” (p. 14)

The Muse is the Goddess, the Mother-Lover-Crone. True poetry, for Graves, is prayer and prophecy.

One knows true poetry when one feels it. The direct experience of the White Goddess is visceral, as Graves describes it: “… the hairs stand on end, the eyes water, the throat is constricted, the skin crawls and a shiver runs down the spine …” (p. 24) These signs do bodily manifest the exultation and dread that accompanies all theophanies, all encounters with Truth.

How like the experience of our vocal ministers when the Spirit has truly descended upon them.

§ One Response to True Prophecy, Real Poetry, Spirit-led Ministry

  • Signe Wilkinson says:

    On my screen, at the end of this helpful musing, an ad popped up for….wait for it…. LIGHTS! A store called “Lamps Plus”. WOuldn’t it be nice to be able to order a lamp we could turn on and be flooded with God’s good poetry about 20 minutes into worship?

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