Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +21)

INTO THE RIVER
(Joshua 3: 7-17)

Take the covenant with you into the river –
the boundary river, the risky river between
future and past, between fear and hope,
whose swirling depths can dislodge your feet –

take the covenant with you into the river –
the river that is all that is out of control,
restless and relentless and gnawing its banks,
whose wild floods can drown field and home –

take the covenant with you into the river –
chilling and destructive, peaceful and refreshing,
the river that is world, full of mystery and song,
whose waters can bless like renewal of life –

take the covenant with you into all of your rivers –
let it rest on your shoulders when you take
your steps, let it remind you of a promise,
let it remind of God’s presence,

that you do not cross the boundaries alone,
that you are not abandoned in the raging floods,
that in the depths that would knock you
off your careful feet, God’s love is anchor

to hold and to guide, and waters of danger
shall not overwhelm, and waters of chaos
may bring newness of life, and out of the noise
of rushing waters may rise a beautiful song.

Take the covenant with you.
Watch even the river become
servant of love.

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +20)

SONNET OF THE STAR AND SHIP
(Matthew 22:34-46)

The soul stands on deck, rain-soaked in the storm,
wind-lashed, anxiously watching the dark sky.
It’s seeking safe harbour, calmer seas, warm
bays. It needs something to navigate by,
some star to break through the clouds, show the way
home. It has tried this long voyage alone,
but weary with the bleak night, longs for day.
Suddenly clouds break, and there in that zone
shines a bright star. It is Love! The command
to love God, to love neighbour – Christ showing
the way – is what guides the soul to good land,
its true home. Now see the star lowering:
becoming ship, becoming sail – both goal
and means. Yes: love leads and carries. Makes whole.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +19)

THE MOSES MOMENT
(Exodus 33: 12-23)

Blood-red sun
rises into
autumn ripened sky

splitting gray
morning open like
softened stone

and something
gentle is
spilling through,

embracing me
in the curl
of a vast upturned palm,

the light touch
of a wide
welcoming hand.

And did Moses wish
he could stay

in just this kind
of moment

grace
unfolding
around him
and within . . .

the way I wish
this moment
could stay
in me . . .

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +18)

R.S.V.P.
(Matthew 22: 1-14)

I thought I had it here a while ago,
the invitation to the wedding feast.
I’m busy, but I think I’d like to go.

Priorities have swamped me, as you know;
a banquet invitation’s just the least.
I thought I had it here a while ago.

The king’s included both the high and low,
which seems to me a rather foolish piece.
I’m busy, but I probably can go.

I’ll bet this generous king would give out clothes
to all for whom good robes are out of reach.
I thought I read it here a while ago.

But I’ll go as I am, thank you, to show
I’m fine, I’ve need for no one’s saving grace.
I’m busy, but I think I’d like to go.

They’ll tell me it’s an honour, I suppose.
I guess I could take my invited place.
I thought I had it here a while ago.
I’m busy, but perhaps I’ll try to show.