An inspiring thought is observed in the AV translation of Ephesians 2.10 "For we are his workmanship". 'Workmanship' translates the Greek word "poiema". It is from this word that the word 'poem' is derived. It occurs but twice in the New Testament, the other occasion in Rom.1.20 is translated "things that are made". "Poiema" is from the basic root "Poieo" occurs many times, and is translated no less than 353 times by the word "do". A variety of other words is also used to translate it, but all contain the same idea as the word "do". According to its general usage, "poiema" does not necessarily mean "poem", but the fact that the Greek word has been transferred into our language by the word 'poem' and that the English word is definite and precise in its meaning invests its Greek equivalent with an inspiring thought. Truly the Church is God's workmanship, and as such it must be a sublime and beautiful work. Even to think of God's handiwork as the creation of a Temple, it must be of beautiful workmanship. But there is something exquisitely beautiful in the thought that the Church is 'God's Poem' - God's noblest thought couched in its loveliest form.
Among men who use words as the bricks-and-mortar of their creative work the poet uses them with the greatest charm. He is like the man who, taking clay, makes it into exquisite china. Like common earthenware, it is made of baked clay, but the moulding is more chaste and delicate, and the finished product more pleasing to the eye. Every word the poet weaves into his creation is at the disposal of every pen but not all brains are invested with poetic power. It is not the mere knowledge of words, nor the ability to choose appropriate words, that makes the poet. Each word must be the right one, it must be in the right place; word must balance word; line must balance line; stanza must balance stanza; and the whole thing must flow in rhythmic cadence smooth as a limpid stream. The thought that is being expressed must be distributed evenly throughout, and leave its impression clear and complete until the last word is reached. There is a difference between the technique of the good essayist and the poet. Each in his own way makes the right choice of words to express what he has to say, but it may be that more people would respond to a noble thought expressed in beautiful verse than in elegant prose. It is not unusual for the impressionable individual to find his soul pulsating more rapidly to the rhythm of a graceful and well-proportioned poem than to the cadence of a well-written essay. The rhythm of the poem grips and impels the senses along, somewhat like the marching tap of the drum or the strong accent of the dance.
When the poem has been born of the deep experience of a child of God, it becomes a living thing. It may reveal a Jordan consecration, a Gethsemane - agony, or a Pentecostal-visitation come to life. It may tell of a secret revitalizing contact between the Spirit of the living God with the fervent soul that fused together the glowing words. It is a creation of something more than a string of words or of lovely sounds ‑ something more the rhythm or rhyme of cadence or metre. Behind it is a Divine thought ‑ a living expression of the Spirit of God brought down into this realm of time and sense. Pause for a moment to think of some of the lovely gems of thought which have been forged into living things to enrich the hearts of men. Think of blind George Matheson's 'O Love that will not let me go', of dying C.F.Lyte's "Abide with me, fast falls the eventide', of Augustus Toplady's 'Rock of Ages, cleft for me' of Miss Havergal's "Take my life and let it he", and a hundred other kindred expressions of praise and prayer and worship, every one gushing forth as living waters springing up from the deep places of the soul! Here is something deeper and more compelling than words. To recite all these words one by one from the pages of a dictionary would leave no such soul-stirring influence behind. They are all there for any scribe to pick out and assemble as he will. But it requires more than picking and assembling to make them live. Every poem that leaves its mark upon men must be written first on the page of experience of every child of God, as he seeks for, and finds, fellowship with the Holiest of all, before it can be wrought into shape for the printer's page. It must be the outcome of agony and suspense, or throb of pleasure and delight in the secret chambers of 'the inner man', before it can take ordered expression for another's benefit. It must have grown out of a deep spiritual hunger and tell how that hunger was fully satisfied by supplies of grace, before it can feed another hungry soul. There is always a price to pay before the poet's words can live as vehicles of grace for supplying another life's necessities.
It is a sublime privilege for gifted singers to become the instruments of Providence. The basic principles of Divine care and Christian experience as stated in God's Word are adapted and reset to satisfy the modern Christian pilgrim's need to serve the ends of Providence. They throw new light on the Way, and distil new Wine into the Cup for the believer's benefit; all this in the most choice and helpful words that humankind possesses. It is a great honour to be used to express the living thoughts of the Living God to living people. Although the poet sings the sweetest song in the most charming words, there is more behind the words than there is within. The realities are greater far than the phrase which sets them forth, for the contact of the believer with his Father in the sphere of the "higher life" are things that must be "felt, not telt" as the Scots say, things that enter not into the natural heart of man. The natural mind may read and sing the poet's words without entering this sanctum of holy experience, or realising that another world ‑ a higher world ‑ lies beyond the range of the poet's song, that only the anointed eye can see and only the spiritual mind can understand. Today, it is impossible for the natural mind to comprehend the mysteries of the Spirit of God. In a better day, God intends that men shall understand enough to win and chain his heart to the Throne of God. To that end, God is writing the story of His love and travail in the experiences of the Christian Church. He is composing a great Poem, every word of which is the right word, a chosen word; every word of which is in its right place; every word of which will tell of the deep passion of His Soul. Every word of this Divine Poem is a living soul, bought out of sin and death at a great price, chosen by the Creator, then balanced and adjusted soul with soul, to rhyme and harmonize with the Divine Poet's thought, so that the whole shall be perfect in cadence, spirit, rhythm and metre.
Every child of God is placed "in the body" today as it has pleased God to so do but this is only the temporary draft of the poem. The human poet may have need to change or revise his first choice of words, or vary their place in the line or stanza before he is satisfied. The Divine Poet will set them at last in the Body in the position where they will best manifest His thought and purpose. They will together constitute the greatest living manifestation of the Spirit of their Creator, a revelation for all time of the sacrificing love of God during the dark ages while sin reigned supreme, and a gracious Creator worked and waited for the return to righteousness of His erring human children. This patient, long-suffering Spirit of the Eternal God will be written deep into the very constitution of His Elect. It will tell to the countless myriads of this world the deep sense of loss experienced in the heart of God, and of the great things He was constrained and prepared to do to win back the sinner from his evil way. Every soul, therefore, in that exalted people ‑ that is, every word in His finished Poem must express with very truth, all that the Divine Poet has ever felt towards His fallen children and toward the destructive and abhorrent principle of sin. Every word must ring true to the intent of the Divine Heart, and say to the wide circles of both heaven and earth, exactly what the deeply-yearning Love of God would have it say.