“Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.” Augustine, Confessions VIII, 7.
“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” Romans 13:14
Stalking in the garden in the heat of the moment,
Reflecting on complexity of voluntary movement,
Slunk in listless and leaden despair,
Tangled, contorted and tearing his hair,
Rapping his head and wrapping his knees,
Rabidly ravaging under the trees,
Wanting to wait and waiting to want,
Weighing the longing of laying and font,
Augustine hears the Word of the Lord
Drifting, insisting the voice of a child:
“Tolle, lege: take it and read.
Tolle, lege: take it and read.”
Vocative discourse spoken by God,
Evocative sing-song challenge of a child.
Turning and turning he opens to read
The Word of the Lord in the words of St Paul:
“Lust and debauchery, revelry, rivalry,
Now is the time to wake from your sleep.”
Eloquent professor professes his call.
Now, no procrastination, delay;
Later is now, tomorrow today.
Graham Kings, Signs and Seasons: A guide for your Christian journey (London: Canterbury Press, 2008) p.9.
The Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings is Hon Assistant Bishop and World Mission Adviser, Diocese of Southwark, and SCR Member, St Chad’s College, Durham. He has been theological secretary of Fulcrum since its founding.