Temptation and Word

I wrote this meditation at a Lay Servants Teach Adults class at Salem United Methodist Lake Michigan at South Shore MilwaukeeChurch on January 27, 2010. I was leading a study on Luke 4:1-13 as my teaching assignment. I included an exercise for 14 adults, most over 45 years old, to write an impromptu poem inspired by the text. After some initial protests, all of them participated with enthusiasm. For many of us, the small published book of the poetry created that night is a cherished possession.

Temptation and Word

Lumbering and lazing along Lake Michigan,
Alone on an early morning path I’ve walked
Many days alone and many days in community,
Today alone,
My morning podcasts wind and wire ’round me,
Up to my ears–then tunneling toward mind and soul.
Money Matters, composers of the day, and
Deuteronomy on audio, Global Economics and
High Tech and political gabbing.

I listen to Deuteronomy,
Then pause the audio,
Lunging, leaping some, lifting my walk intensity.

I pause to pray and listen before Luke.
I lift my pace and lift my eyes,
Not a desert here but lonely lake this morning, as the
Sun shines embers over the lake,
Lonely, glistening, living Son.

My thoughts shift,
Dreams of money,
Lusts, power-craving.
Ego? Is it lonely, lack-of-confidence?
Can I respond with Your Word?
What did I miss in Deuteronomy today? I drifted.
Was it there for me, and I missed it?

That Me-First-Feeling again: How can I reply?
I laze again, lessen my pace,
You grant the Wisdom of Your Word
When I stop,
When I listen,
When I love Your Word.

—-Tom Bolton, Salem, WI, January 27, 2010

I published a little book in 2010 with the products of that exercise. I would love to share the other poems, because they turned out so well! The poems were all composed in a ten minute exercise as part of a study of Luke 4:1-13 during a practicum session in the the third week of Lay Leaders Teach Adults on that snowy, cold January Wednesday. There was much grumbling and many fearful looks as I explained the assignment. But everyone finished–even the older man, a car mechanic, who explained he had NEVER written a poem. Each was excited to share his or her poem and each was anxious to have me add it to the book. Beautiful!

We use a different part of our brains, and engage our spirits, when we contemplate Scriture with poetry. The words flow and the thoughts gel in a whole new way. I love it.


About Tom Bolton

I'm a Husband and Dad, an Enterprise Systems Manager at the City of Milwaukee, and a Disciple and Lay Servant at First United Methodist of West Allis. I love working beside young people. As I study the Bible, sometimes I feel moved to work through my understanding by writing poetry. I also am going through a process to discern my calling, and to learn more about Christian Leadership. Sometimes I just feel like writing about something that grabs my attention too.
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