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The Moth and the Flame
by Edy T Johnson 
01/20/14
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The Moth and the Flame

by Edy T Johnson - [for February 2014 column]

Who is the moth, and who is the flame?
Who is responsible? Who is to blame?
Caught in the light, what is true, what is game? (light/heat?)
Or, is it possible, both are the same?

Flame singe'd wings, together in smoke,
Who is the author of this frightful joke?
Destined for what, simply pain in the choke?
Time's long been waiting that we both awoke.

Dreams like a moth have nowhere to go.
Flames have a future life, leaving a glow.
What they had once, maybe twice, who's to know?
All that remains: broken hearts full of woe.

Come to the parlor of spider and fly,
Just one more pair of loves wondering why.

In a college course on English literature, I was first exposed to literary analysis and criticism. It seemed to me second-guessing for a critic, many years removed from the author, to dig into the writer's mind and tell today's reader what the long-ago piece of literature meant to say. It appeared more like playing a game, especially when two or more critics began an argument on what the original author's intention could have been.

Many of my readers know I love words, especially used in the discipline of poetry. It is so much fun when an idea floats to the top of my mind and prompts the beginnings of a new poem. Sometimes, just looking for matching rhymes, helps the poem to write itself.

So, in this month of hearts and valentines, when the words "moth and flame" popped into my thoughts, I felt compelled to write a new piece using those words to illustrate hearts broken in unfulfilled dreams. Using bits of a puzzle from nature seemed like a good way to convey a message.

And, it is a wonder to notice how the change of a single word can convey an entirely different idea. Take the line "Caught in the light...." Using the word "light" hints at the light of the flame, but it also could indicate exposure of something hidden in the dark. But, if the word "light" is changed to "heat," the reader can ponder that as dangers in yielding to temptation!


Reading Scripture can be a similar exercise. Goodness knows that we have arrived on the scene of many interpretations (like critical analysis) of Scripture already fighting for supremacy. Does the Bible declare that God predestines some for salvation and others for damnation (Calvinism)? Or, is God simply offering unlimited salvation for all, but conditional on a response for the offer to go into effect (Arminianism)? And, why is it so hard to find a third alternative that declares both above interpretations are "partly in the right, but both are in the wrong?"

Perhaps our task, today, is to begin with the foundations of the faith, studying the Bible from cover to cover, and do our own exegesis analysis of what it tells us. Since we have already been exposed to so many ideas of human interpretation, it won't be easy to see clearly enough to draw fresh conclusions from what we read.

But, it is not only a disservice to ourselves to rely on the ideas of others; if we want to be able to answer those who ask a reason for the hope within us, then we have an obligation to take up the challenge. We need to be taught directly by the Holy Spirit through Godís Word if we hope to bring the good news to those lost souls, like the moth, in a world seeking to devour them in flames of deadly passions.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, [fn: That is, one approved after being tested] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." --2 Timothy 2:15 ESV


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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