Friday, May 30, 2014

Read by the Author

"Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;
And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth." 
Deuteronomy 32:1

So, as I'm sure you know, Maya Angelou died the other day. She was an amazing woman in many ways.  Civil rights activist, dancer, director, author, actress, playwright, producer, professor, and of course, poet.  She was lauded with thirty honorary degrees, a Pulitzer nomination, a Tony nomination, three Grammys, the National Medal of Arts, the Lincoln Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  She was 86 years old when she died, and her accomplishments should be considered astounding for anyone, but even more for someone who began life with the disadvantages and difficulties she did. 

I never read anything by her.  I never saw her perform anywhere.  When I was growing up, I was familiar with her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, but I didn't know much else about her.  But in 1993, I saw her read her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," at the inauguration of President Clinton.  I was entranced.

I didn't and don't agree with Clinton's politics, but I always watch inaugurations.  I'm not sure I would have agreed with all of Maya Angelou's politics either, but that never stopped me from admiring her achievements, and that beautiful poem. 

But more than the poem itself, there was just something so pure and sincere in hearing it read by the poet herself.  I think there are few things more genuine than hearing an author or poet read their own work.  They know exactly what they mean, what they want to say, what they want to emphasize. 

Think about that concept, in terms of the Bible.  Think about the joy of knowing the Word, and its Author.  Think about the idea of Jesus speaking Scripture when He walked on the earth, and about the nearly unfathomable magnificence of the fact that He is, in fact, the Word made flesh. 

Hear Him, when you read His Word.  Hear His power and His compassion.  Hear His love and His wisdom.  And know that it is from Him, and for you.

~ "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
    and we beheld His glory" ~
John 1:14

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