The Ordering of Love by Madeleine L’Engle

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) – It’s Okay

Poetry has the ability to transport a reader into the heart of the author, a situation or experience and Madeleine L’Engle in her compiled poetic work entitled “The Ordering of Love” adds faith to that list, allowing that poetry has a place in our relationship to the divine.

“The Ordering of Love” is not for everyone. First because it is poetry, but secondly and perhaps more importantly because it is heavily Christian faith based poetry.  I am a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and I found this compilation of poetic work an interesting and often time enlightening dive into the Christian faith. L’Engle offers reflections, rewrites and interpretations of biblical story and character as well as insight into her own wrestling with faith and God through various life circumstances.  

L’Engle’s poetic voice is clear, concise and the reader is brought alongside and offered a particular perspective. The poems reach beyond the expected boundaries of Christian faith and entrenched understanding of our relationship to God. At the same time, much of what she was excavating during her time has been present throughout my life, so it wasn’t particularly illuminating in my personal journey, though I appreciated her words as a woman of faith in her own time. 

Her Sonnets though.  Her Sonnets were a beauty to behold. They appeared towards the end of the book and from later in her life. They were five star poems. Every. Single. One. They offered such depth and honesty from her experience of grief over her life partner’s death. Each poem offered a poignant glimpse into the kaleidoscope of emotions swirling around someone aching to find life after death. 

For pastors and others who work in faith traditions this is an excellent resource to have on your shelf and for those who work with those in grief I highly recommend L’Engle’s Sonnets.  For the more casual reader, I am not sure this book in its entirety will connect, but I am sure you will find gems in the honest poetry of Madeleine L’Engle.

Happy Reading!
Hannah