Monday, March 30, 2009

Water, is taught by thirst

Emily Dickinson is not one of my favorite poets. However, her poem "Water, is taught by thirst" is interesting enough to discuss:

Water, is taught by thirst.
Land -- by the Oceans passed.
Transport -- by throe --
Peace -- by its battles told --
Love, by Memorial Mold --
Birds, by the Snow.

On second thought, I don't like this poem either. I do like, however, the first line because it echos a crucial C.F.W. Walther quote that I recently read and used in my AP Lit. class:

C.F.W. Walther, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s first president, wrote a book called Law and Gospel. Arguably, it is the preeminent book on the important role and impact of the Law and Gospel. In his “Third Evening Lecture: on September 26, 1884” he quotes Luther,

“These two points must be made: The Law creates a thirst and leads us to hell; the Gospel, however, satisfies the thirst and leads to heaven. The Law states what we must do, but that we have fallen short of doing it, no matter how holy we may be. Thus it produces uncertainty in me and arouses this thirst.”

Walther follows this Luther quote with, “Such a thirsty person must do only one thing: Drink, receive the comfort of the Gospel. How a truly thirsty person is refreshed by even one small glass of water! But if he is not thirsty, you may pour glass after glass down his throat, and it won’t do him any good, it won’t refresh him."

Listen as Rev. Scott Murray of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, TX discusses a related topic, Gospel Reductionism on the March 25th broadcast of Issues, Etc.


Josh Evans said...

Your quote from Walther brings to mind the Parable of the Sower from Matthew 13, and I also appreciate the Dickinson connection.

However, unlike you, I happen to really enjoy her poetry :)
I think it's because of Dr. Kurth...

JBrandt said...

Not many like Emily because they fail to understand her. I don't pretend to understand her but I can only tolerate so much misery. However, I do like this poem. I also like my sermons, hymns and liturgy saturated with clear Law, clear Gospel, clear sanctification in response to clear justification.

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