May 2022 Poetry Column

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… devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

                                                                         ~ 1 Timothy 4:13

There is such power in the
Spoken, it slits
Open hearts
Read, it rips
And uproots our defenses

It proceeds like a blast of hot light
From the mouth of the one who handles it,
Burning us like chaff,
Convicting us like a unanimous jury;
And soothing us like
A mother’s whispered
Song in the night

Power and authority, as portrayed in the Bible, are depicted almost as if they had substance that could be conveyed from person to person: like a commodity, or a unit of exchange, or a currency. Jesus tangibly felt power leave His body when the woman with the issue of blood touched His garment in faith—making a “withdrawal” of strength from Him. And when Jesus said, “All authority is mine,” that means that anyone who holds any authority got it from Him, and they are only existing with His permission. True, like any currency, it can be abused or misused. But unlike earthly units of exchange, God’s power and authority have only one Source. And unlike the world’s money, it is unlimited, strictly regulated, and impervious to outside pressures.


So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.

                                                            ~ 1 Corinthians 11:27-28

We rub our souls raw
With the sackcloth of remembered sin
And toss the ashes of burned
Memories into the air
Where they mat in our hair
And crust our eyelids
(How lovely that fountain
Where the sparkling water
Washes away
Even the remembrance of things past
Transforming them into
Things forgiven)

In spite of all the “feel good” philosophies that recent church growth experts have said are necessary for people to benefit from worship, the basic “needs” of a congregation remain unchanged. Worship has two functions: to glorify God, and to allow men, women and children to participate in that glorification. Participation means that a distinction must be made between the holy and the common, the heavenly and the earthly. Part of that involves our recognition that we are not the holy and the heavenly. A proper deference to a superior Being is not belittling but rather an acknowledgement that our sin both separates us from Him and provides the impetus for Him to reach toward us.

Dr. Latayne C. Scott is the award-winning author of over 25 books (including one in which these poems appear)  and is Trinity Southwest University’s Author in Residence.  Her current focus is on “Faith Mapping” through live and online training. She maintains three websites:,, and

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