Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +17)

THE TEN WORDS
(Exodus 20: 1-20)

This is a moment of new creation:
blast of a trumpet and fire and smoke
and the people gathered at the foot of a mountain,
Moses on the summit, receiving words:

words that are beacons, words that cast shadow,
words that are firesparks struck from stone,
words that are trumpet, calling to silence,
words that will echo through ages to come,

words that are the beating heart of a covenant,
words of requirement, words that are gift,
words that are bones in the body of a people,
words that are blood flowing into their veins,

words that are power, spoken to weakness,
words that are freedom because they are fence,
words that challenge us, words that summon us,
words that are song for a life-long dance,

words that are dwelling place, words of foundation,
words that are law, given in grace,
words that are signposts, words that are journey,
words that are a pathway pointing to peace.

This is a moment of new creation:
blast of a trumpet and fire and smoke
and we are the people at the foot of a mountain
and we have these words, our heart for their home.

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +16)

TO FULL FRUIT
(Matthew 21: 28-32)

Perhaps we say no because
we are weary.
Perhaps the work seems
overwhelming,
life too full of woundedness,
the vineyard too difficult to care for
as it struggles to grow to full fruit.

Perhaps we say no because
we take for granted
that our Father will find someone else,
that someone else’s “yes”
will meet the need,
doing the work that leads to full fruit.

Perhaps it is because we take for granted
that harvest will come regardless,
that the vineyard has no need
for our labour –
our mercy, our love, our caring –
in order to reach its full fruit.

Or perhaps it is because we forget
that the life we inhabit
is also where work is needed,
that we ourselves are a vineyard:
our souls in need of nurture,
spirits in need of cultivation,
our lives in need of the pruning of wisdom,
before we can reach full fruit.

Whatever the perhaps,
whatever the reasons,
may “no” become “yes”,
and words become deeds.
For we are God’s “yes”
Christ’s caring in action,
Christ’s presence
in the vineyard which God so loves
and which God is bringing
to full fruit.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +15)

ALL OF GRACE
Matthew 20: 1-16

Like sun that shines the same on every face,
both vineyard and the work, the owner’s gift.
We learn at end of day it’s all of grace.

Upon the earth each person has their place
as surely as each star its nightly shift,
and sunlight falls the same on every face.

By mercy we’re all winners of the race;
by mercy every lowly gets a lift:
by mercy do we learn it’s all of grace.

God’s vineyard spans the globe; there’s lots of space
for all who hear God’s call to heal its rifts
like sunlight chasing pain from every face.

Let none begrudge the width of God’s embrace
which reaches from the safe to those adrift.
We learn at end of day it’s all of grace.

Until our human love can keep apace
with God’s, may labour be a sharing of the gift
that shines like sun the same on every face.
At end of day, we praise: it’s all of grace.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +14)

FORGIVENESS IS . . .
Matthew 18: 21-35

Forgiveness is sending flowers
with a card of congratulations
to one who has come through
suffering: yourself.

Forgiveness is taking the stone
that broke the blade of the plow
and transferring it to the center
of your garden.

Forgiveness is digging a hole
into cracked and thirsty earth
and not just pouring in water
but planting a tree.

Forgiveness is emptying the goblet
into which you poured the poison
and placing it, clean and shining,
on the farthest shelf.

Forgiveness is shaking loose
the pinched, cracked skin
you have been living in
and leaving it behind for the crows.

Forgiveness is tearing in two the curtains
that enclosed your heart’s hurting
and letting in the dusty light
to bathe the wound.

Forgiveness is removing the pins
from the wings of two
dead butterflies
and watching both those butterflies
fly away free.