Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +8)

(Matthew 14: 13-21)

He came ashore into crowds:
the crowds with little peace
the crowds with little joy
the crowds with little hope

with hurts unnumbered
to bring to his caring

in a place like desert
a place like emptiness
a place of the aching heart

and the hour became late
and the shadows lengthened
and hunger was deeply felt.

Where shall crowds go
in this hour like emptiness,
in this time of warring,
in the gathering shadows of despair?

Where shall we buy
the hope that strengthens,
the love that nourishes,
the peace we so desperately need?

See how our baskets feel nearly empty,
how in our own hurting,
weariness and hunger
we believe we have little to give.

But hear, in the words
of the one who is kindness,
whose compassion reaches
beyond the setting sun,

the hope our hearts long for,
on which we can feed:

hear the invitation
to share even our weakness
for it contains the promise

that that there is no emptiness
where the Source of all life
does not flow;

that there is no place where
death’s shadows are falling
where the Redeemer of life
does not go.

We can feed upon that promise,
promise of sufficiency,
promise of despair overcome –
feed upon grace that is fullness of joy.
We can share, eat, and be full.

And there is plenty for the pilgrimage home.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +7)

(Matthew 13: 44-52)

No time for spreadsheets,
for the accountant’s calculations.
No time for checking the agenda,
the meetings scheduled.
No time for the radio station’s
business headlines,
for Googling the financial news.
Let the other hunters continue
to dig on their various islands –
places you have tried before,
long through the soulless days,
the heartless nights –
today you have discovered
the riches you’ve been waiting for,
searching for,
you and the world waiting and searching,
your whole life.
No time for the rear-view mirror.
No time for the GPS to suggest
alternate routes that might
contain less risk or cost.
This is highest value; this is greatest treasure;
the pearl the world in its wisdom
has been diving for, coming up empty handed.
This is worth staking your day,
your path,
your life upon.
This is life itself.
It is the kingdom of heaven.
It is Christ, and the way
he teaches and gives.
It is the love of God for you
and for the aching, breaking,
yearning world.
No time left for waiting.
Come and buy the entire field.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +6)

(Matthew 13: 24-43, Genesis 28: 10-19)

We start from where we are
on this journey of becoming
our calling, God-given and God-accepted:

a field of weeds and wheat
growing in us together
(God will do and does the harvesting);

handfuls of dough
prepared for the leaven
that empowers becoming bread;

a small seed of mustard
newly planted, destined for
a sheltering shrub.

We start from where we are
on this journey of becoming
our calling, God-given and God-accepted:

lost or wandering to a future
less than certain, or fleeing
from fears or regrets of the past,

making our bed in
night-time wilderness,
pillow feeling like stone.

Let the hungering world
remind each field of
its importance; let the flying

birds tell the shrubs
of their significance;
let the descending night

speak to wanderers
of our neediness, but let
the stars part their curtain

and let the stairway
be revealed, let the angels
appear that travel its

open doorway, that are
with us on our journey
wherever we are.

Let the hand of God
be seen at work already
in our harvest;

let the yeast of God
be revealed at work
already in our dough;

let the voice of God
be heard from where
the angels reach,

and in the barren night-time,
lifting our head
from lying upon stone.

Let the voice remind us
we are in God’s keeping
and that wherever we are

is Bethel.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +5)

(Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23)

Early morning, before the newly risen sun
begins to lay full force against the back,
the heavy sack of seed hangs by a strap
from the sower’s shoulder.
One hand holds it open,
the other dips and rises
in perfect rhythm with the slow stride.
Sweeping wide through the quiet air
the seeds spray over the varied terrain
but the sower scarcely seems to care
that some lands among stones, some
among weeds, that seed lands upon
thin soil as much as on good.

Careless the sun, careless the rain.
Careless the wind, the bird singing.
Careless the white snow on black branches.
Careless the dappled light of the green forest.

Careless the waves curling in the moonlight.
Careless the geese scraping the autumn sky.
Careless the frog’s voice in the reedy water.
Careless the sweet scent of the pink flower.

Careless the butterfly emerging into air.
Careless the starry darkness, the gray dawn.
Careless the raw beauty. Careless the wild goodness.
Careless such seeds from the sower’s hand.

Fling seed of new life over all the earth,
Loving Sower.
Seed mercy in the stony soils of our hate.
Seed justice in the weedy ground of our selfishness.
Seed hope in the scorched sands of despair.
May the harvest be abundant with joy.

Fling your seed into the dusty lands of my life,
Wise Sower.
Seed the dry earth of my stony heart.
Seed where weeds crowd, where their leaves
shade the sunlight.
Seed the deep soil of my hungry soul.
Grant harvest, abundant with joy.