Turning Point: Augustine

Date added: 29/05/2020

                                                            TURNING POINT: AUGUSTINE


 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, Nourishing Connections (Canterbury Press, 2020).

first published in Mission Theology Advisory Group, Anne Richards (ed.), Transparencies: Pictures of mission through prayer and reflection (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Church House Publishing, 2002) and in Graham Kings, Signs and Seasons: a guide for your Christian Journey (Canterbury Press, 2008) and on Fulcrum December 2013 and Covenant.