April/May 1997 — Our English word “poem” comes directly from the Greek poema which means “a piece of work,” whether an act, deed or — as in this instance — a literary product. Paul uses this Greek word twice in the New Testament to describe God’s workmanship. God’s first “poem” is Creation itself (Rom. 1:20). His second “poem” is the redeemed life of women and men who constitute God’s new creation in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:10).
These past eight days Sara Faye and I have thrilled to both of God’s “poems.” First at the Pepperdine University Annual Bible Lectures in Malibu, California, then driving up the Pacific coast on Highway 1 for most of two days, then during weekend ministry in the Bay Area at the San Leandro Church of Christ near San Francisco. Along the way, we spent a night at a state park Lodge in Big Sur, under the living canopy of a Redwood forest, beside a crystal-clear brook, in company with the bluebirds and all the other assorted creatures of the woods and river and sky.
Throughout our journey, the sheer beauty and magnificence of God’s creation almost strained the senses’ abilities to receive. Pepperdine University rests on a flowered mountainside overlooking the Malibu beach. Chris and Claudia Sangster, our dear friends and gracious hosts, reside in a condo at the very top of the mountain. From their deck, we enjoyed an eagle’s view of the campus, town, beach and ocean to the horizon.
On our leisurely drive north with my brother Benjamin and sister-in-law Susan, we watched beach turn to coast, and saw sand give way to rocky cliffs. Hour by hour we observed the warm sunland of southern California yield to meadows of cherry orchards and fields of artichokes, then to craggy headlands and ocean promontories, to giant Redwoods, and finally to the graceful hills and bays of historic San Francisco.
God’s “poem” of Creation awed us, humbled us and inspired us all at the same time. Jubilate!