What Is a Good Church Poem for Youth Groups?


Quick Answer

"Poem 573" by Emily Dickinson is an excellent poem for church youth groups who want to discuss diverse and shared expressions of faith. It speaks of a religious impulse carried within every person even as it highlights the infinite and seemingly contradictory ways the faithful can keep and honor that impulse.

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Full Answer

Dickinson begins by comparing herself with more traditional Sabbath-keeping churchgoers saying, "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church - / I Keep it staying at Home." While it may seem that she's making a sharp distinction between herself and the churchgoers, this is not the case. The exaggeration is not being used to isolate each subject, but to better diagnose the fundamental impulse they both share beneath its expression.

Dickinson is not saying one must exclusively go to church and worship among others, just as she is not saying people should abandon their rituals and return to nature. Instead, she hopes to equate the basic compulsion to worship that both she and the churchgoers share. She suggests that the awe some people find at church and others find in nature is one and the same, and that however both choose to do so, they both share the same recognition, despite what appear to be fundamental differences between them.

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