We sat in the Regency room on gold chairs with blue velvet seats, like a flock of colorful birds with some of us clothed in pink hair or permanent ink, and others clad in bright knit sweaters and blue jeans. The room was meant for hosting royalty, and was decorated as such to host the Prince Regent, George IV in the 1800’s. Today, it hosts poets, novelists, and artists of the non-royal variety.
Each of us held a thick packet of paper handed out by the professor with snippets of poems and passages printed on it. Before we read the examples, he explained a theory he had developed over a lifetime of reading and writing. He suggested that a work of poetry often contains a “voltic word”, and this word has two characteristics: One, it carries a charge or a current, expressing more than the letters it contains, and two, it turns our attention and casts a light on the rest of the work.
As we read through each piece, we tried to identify the voltic word, the one on which everything else turned and pivoted, the one that electrified the piece with a deeper meaning than the words themselves implied. Once we recognized what we were looking for, simple words like “too” or “and” began to take on new significance. They changed our perception and our understanding of what the author wanted to convey. The voltic word was the one on which the poem hinged open, revealing its deeper meaning.
As we celebrate Easter this weekend, I am aware that this world is waiting for it’s coming King to return. We prepare our hearts like a room decked in gold and blue, and ready ourselves for Jesus Christ our King to come again, to set things right, to rule over a world that is ill-prepared and groaning and crumbling like dust.
All of history, all of humanity, all of the mysteries of this age and beyond, have turned on a single voltic word. They’ve been charged with meaning by the Word become flesh. Jesus, bound to earth by skin and muscle and bone. Jesus, son of God and yet fully man. Jesus, the rejected cornerstone upon whom the hope of the world rests. He is the voltic Word of God, the one who turns our attention and casts the brightest light upon every word of scripture. He is the one who gives meaning and life and redemption. In Romans 5:17 we’re reminded “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One , Jesus Christ.”
This one man, this voltic Word, changed everything. Let us live like we know this truth down to our own flesh and bones. Let us live like the redeemed, like the ones who build our life on the cornerstone, like the ones who allow the light and charge of the Word to turn us into a new creation.
Happy Easter, dear friends.
***Many thanks to HL Hix for his illuminating lecture on the voltic word. His words shed light on everything they touch.