Poetry is a way that we can reflect on reality – both the natural world that we see around us, and the supernatural world that is, though invisible, no less real. All people are called to know Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life; and all Christians are called to walk with Our Lord on the way of the Cross, through death into life. As Christians, we are deeply identified with Christ — but how does that work out in our day to day lives?
Malcolm Guite, a 21st century poet, academic, and Anglican priest, has written an extraordinary sonnet sequence called “Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Church Year”; at the heart of this book is a sequence called “The Stations of the Cross.” This set of sonnets helps us to reflect upon, interpret, and deepen our engagement with each of these vivid moments in the last hours of Jesus’ life before the Cross.
In this set of four lectures on the “Stations” sonnets, I help readers engage more deeply with these marvelous poems and, through them, with the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord.
I talk about our journey with Jesus to the Cross, using Guite’s sonnets as my text and using the theological thought of Charles Williams as a way to better understand what it is that happens when we begin the transformative journey of following Christ. These sonnets reveal more riches with each reading; they are easily the equal (and I do not say this lightly) of the work of John Donne or George Herbert.
You can read the full text of Malcolm Guite’s “Stations of the Cross” sonnets here. And here is the fifteenth sonnet, “Easter Dawn.”
Here are the four talks. If you can’t see the audio player, you can also click on the title to go to the podcast for that episode:
Part 1: Co-Inherence.
Part 2: Encounter.
Part 3: Failing and Falling.
Part 4: Dying and Rising.
I encourage you to purchase Sounding the Seasons. The entire sequence is a tremendous poetic achievement. It is available in print from Canterbury Press in the UK; you can also get a Kindle edition from Amazon in the US, from Amazon in the UK, or Amazon in Canada.
Dr. Holly Ordway is a poet, academic, and Christian apologist. She is the chair of the Department of Apologetics and director of the MA in Cultural Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, and the author of Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith. Her work focuses on imaginative and literary apologetics, with special attention to C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams.