This debut collection of devotional poetry both plumbs the depths of Christian faith and reaches toward the sky to laud the Creator.
People often think that Jesus had all the answers. But they often forget that he asked an awful lot of questions too: “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own?” “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” “If you do not believe what Moses wrote, how will you believe what I say?” Neu channels Jesus’ inquisitive spirit in her capacious collection of poetry. In it, she roves far and wide through the landscape of Christian faith, addressing topics like the challenges of belief, the efficacy of prayer, and the solace God provides. But as she wanders, she’s always asking questions: In “Life’s Tests,” Neu asks: “What do you want of me, dear Lord, / of life’s tests I take and fail?” Elsewhere, she wonders: “If we could see through God’s eyes, / what would we really see? / Would we see the way things really are or the way they ought to be?” And in “Book of Heaven,” she asks: “Is your name in the Book of Heaven? / Is it written there with flair?” The technique is effective. All these queries come at the beginnings of poems, creating dramatic tension at the outset. This element pushes readers forward, building on their expectations that a resolution will arrive. When that answer comes, it usually appears in the form of the grace that is promised to believers. Thus, even through her questioning, the author affirms the basic truths of the faith. Neu’s language is limpid and approachable, and her writing is accessible for even the most casual reader of poetry. She writes almost all her poems in rhyme, and in a volume that extends to 250 pages, her verse occasionally starts to feel singsong-y. Fortunately, she often varies her form and meter, so this effect is seldom too pronounced. Throughout, she is awed by the wonder of God, and fellow believers should find strength and comfort in her musings.
Confident, probing praise poems for the thoughtful Christian.