August 2022 Poetry Column

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They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”).  
~ Mark 15:22

They called that place
The Skull
And how true—
Here love is stripped
Of all its softness, all
Its warmth:
Skinned alive,
And reduced to
A grinning death’s head

Many people in times of crisis speak of how they were able to see things with crystal clarity: to understand a situation, to see a solution, to move unhesitatingly toward action. The death of Jesus gives us that clarity, too. We would never gild a crucifix or paint rosy cheeks on the dying Savior pictured there if we understood what that cross really meant. It meant that at least for a little while, sin and death and Satan had won a victory.

Golgotha, after all, is not the curves and dimples of a face, it is the starkness of a skull.

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
~ Acts 17:26-28

I didn’t know there were still places like this meetin’ house,
Where the doors stand open in the sultry heat
And the air is stirred by languid wrists moving paper fans from a funeral home.
Each word in the song
Is injected with a hypodermic of meaning
“Oh Lord we ne–ed
A friend …. like …. You”
They used to call this a “colored congregation.”
Maybe they were right:
Each face is tinted with heaven.

 We often speak of God’s wealth—His limitless resources for those who believe, the abundance of His creation. But most wonderful of all is the richness of the diversity of the people He has created. Not only do we come in all sizes, shapes, and colors; each of us has a unique, one-of-a-kind soul that is precious to Him. We easily acknowledge our diversity when we survey our world with its many peoples. But in looking around the people we worship with every Sunday, we must remind ourselves that though we are united, the uniqueness of each one is something created by God, and is pleasing to Him.

Dr. Latayne C. Scott is the recipient of Pepperdine University’s Distinguished Christian Service Award for “Creative Christian Writing,” and is Trinity Southwest University’s Author in Residence. An ex-Mormon, she just released Under the Banner of the Mormon Code.  The author of over two dozen other published books, with guest appearances on radio, television and podcasts, and thousands of published short essays and poems, she lives and writes in New Mexico. She maintains three websites: Latayne.com, mapmyfaith.org , and  Representationalresearch.com.

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