2020 is proving to be a difficult year for many. Is this year a tragedy or some cosmic joke? What is clearly evident in this year of “2020 vision” is that this world, and we who live in it, are broken. The fruits of Genesis 3—injustice, violence, disease, death—are on display even in lands of prosperity as rarely before in my lifetime.
Such times call for both honesty and hope. One night this week, as I lay awake pondering the brokenness of our world, a line came to me: “This world will grind me down into the dust.” And then another line comforted me as I returned to sleep: “But on the third day I will rise again” (cf. Luke 18:33, etc.).
The next morning I wrote the first of these two poems. After I wrote it, I realized the final line really called for a second poem—a revisitation of the dark themes of the first poem through the lens of its final line. So, a few days later, I wrote the second.
I wrote both with a handful of Bible passages open before me, but I’ll leave you to find those connections. I really should credit John Donne for the “Death, be not proud” line, however, and Phil Keaggy should know that I almost included his phrase “joy comes crashing in” from his amazing song “A Little Bit of Light.”
I wrote these quickly, with only minor edits afterward. They may not be perfect as art, but hopefully they rise fresh from my heart to meet yours and remind us both of the hope we have in Christ.
UP FROM THE DUST
This world will grind me down into the dust
With daily heavy drum of sin and death;
What I’ve restored will surely turn to rust
Until I, beaten, draw my final breath.
The nations rage; in wrath my tale is told
As famine, pestilence, rebellion fill
My feed and suffocate me in their fold.
For many shall offend and some will kill,
Their love run cold, or end with their own selves;
Unthankful, proud, blasphemers, false—until
The final enemy will strike us all;
Of all I love, not one escape unharmed.
We slowly fade and then we quickly fall.
These things must come, and yet, be not alarmed;
This world will daily grind me down, and then
Up from the dust at last I’ll rise again.
—Dwight Gingrich, July 7, 2020
UP FROM THE DUST AGAIN
Up from the dust at last I’ll rise again!
Death, be not proud; my pawn you’ll take, it’s true,
But even now my King begins to reign,
And reigning, takes the sting away from you.
My fun’ral march He ornaments with praise
And laughter interrupts my darkest night;
A cloud of witnesses observes my race,
So I despise the shame and brave the fight.
All works for good; in suff’ring we rejoice.
We do not grieve as those who have no hope,
But in this broken world we raise our voice
Proclaiming “Christ is Lord!” For all the scope
Of things created, fallen though they be,
Are reconciled in Him who works for me.
My labor’s not in vain! Though beaten down,
Up from the dust I rise to grasp my crown.
—Dwight Gingrich, July 10, 2020
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