I wrote this while at a Faith Alive retreat at the Moravian Conference Center in Mt Morris, Wisconsin, in September 2011.
We were contemplating thoughts involving inclusiveness, and looking for new thoughts (new to us individually) about theology.
I have struggled through Job over the years, and this just seemed to flow for me.
Originally, I wrote for 15 minutes as an essay, and suddenly, the words just looked like a poem, so I shifted and started over that morning.
Like a Moth and a Flame, or Not
I hear Job. He bellows and seethes and
from his tear and chastisement, he erupts.
What is fair and what is not?
Am I burned by God now?
The law, the comfortable, legalistic disciplines
I am pulled there (sometimes)
Like the moth drawn to the candle–
first in small flame, and then–surprise –in big flames–
The moth doesn’t think (does it?)
as it sees the brightness and anticipates the warmth
and may be burned.
But things seem to happen all around me this day.
Happening to strangers and people I love (moths?)
I blow up (or fret)
God, how can you do that?
Why do you allow that?
Is this your way?
And then I remember (for a while at least)
that sometimes these dangers and
the hurt that happens,
when we–mere men–tell God
to judge, tell God how how to judge.
Ah, I remember now–to listen,
to bask in the love, the comfort, the soft-bright
Hope of God.
I recall–at an instinct–that God is with us–
close and comforting, hugging and caressing,
lighting us up and guiding
Toward the gentle, beautiful Path in the light,
and not pushing us off the path.
Not shoving me out.
Not burning us.
In our dark moments, we may light the flames
Creating God lights the the flames that produce:
Light and comfort-
Illumination and warmth,
Light in the loving moments.
As the flame burns to ash, we are moths, unthinking,
(or thinking too much?)
And the New Flame is softly torched, warm, and vital,
(c) Tom Bolton 9-18-2011 Mt Morris, WI
Like Job, I often blow up about what is fair and what seems unfair. On the one hand, I am pulled toward the law and legalistic discipline like a moth to a candle; I don’t think the moth thinks much about the flame, but it sees the brightness and is drawn toward the warmth, and may be burned. But when bad things–unfair, unjust, hurtful things–happen to people (or moths), I blow up (or I fret) about how could God DO that?
And then I am reminded of the dangers and the hurt that happens when we–mere men–tell God to judge, tell God how to judge. Then, I may remember to listen, to bask in the love, the comfort, the bright Hope of God.
I wrote a good bit more about God and flames and consuming versus comforting production, but I think the poetry is better, and shorter! When the flame burns to ash, we are the moth, unthinking. Or thinking too much?