Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (The Ascension)

BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM
(Luke 24: 44-53)

Begin in the brightly painted kitchens.
At the table set for supper and on the wide couches
where we watch TV. Begin while we are sorting
the laundry, writing out the shopping list.
And in front of our bathroom mirrors.

Begin in the barns among the warmth of animals
and the smells of grain and manure.
Begin in the growing fields, and in the flooded
pastures, and where the rains have not come
and the soil is cracked and hard.

Begin in the gleaming office towers, the shiny
shopping malls, the sweaty factory floors.
Begin on crumbling sidewalks and amid
the rumble of subways. At machines, at our desks,
by the coffee makers and computers.

Begin with the rich, the comfortable.
Begin with the poor, the desperate.
Among the successful, the self-assured.
Among the failed and the floundering.
In the glitter of the halls of power,
and in the cold and shadowed corners
of tragedy and defeat.

Begin on a day when the sun is brilliant;
on a day when the sky is gray.
In a time when economies are favorable;
in a time when all is rust;
at the moment when leaders are caring;
or amid indifference, hostility, despair.

Let us begin beginning again. And whether
we have begun and triumphed, or begun
and struggled and faltered, we will continue
our beginning, as we have from our beginning,
at Jerusalem,
which is wherever
and whoever we are.

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 6)

AND WE IN YOU
(John 14: 15-21)

As the tree is in the earth
and the earth in the tree,
as the sea is in the fish
and the fish in the sea,

as the bird is in the air
and the air in the bird,
as word is in the breath
and breath in the word,

as rhyme is in the music
and music in rhyme,
as time is in the season
and the season in time,

as grief is in the loving
and loving in grief,
as belief is in the hope
and hope in the belief,

as desire is in the will
and the will in desire,
as fire is in the flame
and the flame in the fire,

as you, Christ, are in God
and God is in you,
so are you in us,
and we in you.

So are you in us and
we in you.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 5)

FACE OF GOD
(John 14: 1-14)

We thought you wore the skin
of thunder, spoke in verbs of stormwind,
majestic and mighty as lightning
upon summits,
unreachable
as the cold and silent fire
of distant stars; hidden behind
a curtain in the temple,
an untouchable invisibility approachable
by the highest priest only,
hands freshly blooded
from an altar.

And then somehow the veil was parted:
we gained glimpses of the glory
of the nearness of your love
as the hurting were healed,
the outcast befriended,
the lost restored,
and everywhere the powers of death
had their dominion challenged,
by the son of a Jewish carpenter
from Galilee.

If you have seen me,
said Jesus, you have seen the Father.

And we do see you there,
in the Gospels,
healing in synagogues
and in houses,
feeding the hungry on hillsides,
embracing the lepers and the sinners,
turning over the tables
in the temple,
nailed to a cross of injustice
but risen,
greeting women at
the graveside,
sharing bread with your friends,
the dominion of death
overturned.
Approachable, reachable,
the accessible God,
visible in the skin of Jesus.

But you are not done,
not content to wear
such skin only in the pages
of the Gospels.
The many-coloured, multi-shaped
body of Christ – the Church
wide as the nations of the world –
bears your image where it acts
in your love:
still feeding,
still healing,
still teaching mercy,
making you visible

not in great
structures nor
in high saints alone,
but in the ordinary
persons in the pews,
as here, on a day like any other,
a woman making dinner,
and packing it,
knocking on the door of a neighbour
newly home from surgery for cancer:
the face of the one receiving it
lit with thankfulness,
the face of the one freely giving
like the face
of God.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 4)

PASTURE
(John 10: 1-10)

There is a place we can find, a good place
like quiet meadows where flowers spread,
like green grasses by gentle streams;
a place where the heart feels nourished,
where the mind is hopeful, unhurried,
where the spirit is glad and at peace.
We’ll name this place fulfillment,
we’ll name it healing and thankfulness,
we’ll name this good place pasture
for there we seek to feed.

And there is a voice we can hear that calls us,
a gentle voice, melodious,
a voice like songbirds and laughter,
like a mother comforting her children,
like a shepherd calling his sheep.
We’ll name this voice acceptance,
we’ll name it mercy and forgiveness,
we’ll name it the voice of God’s love,
inviting us gently to feed.

It invites us to enter pasture
when we think we’re too hurting to listen,
too angry or grieving or fearful
to hear the voice that calls us to peace.

It invites us to enter pasture
when we’re sure we’re too busy to listen,
too burdened or worried or pressured
to hear the voice that calls us to peace.

It says: Come in and go out and find pasture.
It says: We are safe with the shepherd of all sheep.
It says: Meadows await us, in this moment.
It says: Rest in love. Where you are. Joyfully feed.