Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 4, Yr B)

THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT CHALLENGES JESUS
(Mark 1: 21-28)

Have you come to destroy us, Holy One?
We’ve had our way so long upon this earth,
and your salvation project’s just begun –
what makes you think the work you’ve brought to birth
will make a dent in all the wrong and hurt?
Do you think your power of love can mend
the wounds injustice makes; some puny word
of peace drown out the shouts of war; or end
the reign of hate and greed with mercy’s means?
Try to evict us if you can, our grip
upon this world is firm – although it seems
that mine, within this person here, just slipped

Ah, I’m done! I go! So you’ve won today.
How very long you must intend to stay. . .

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 3, Yr B)

MENDING THEIR NETS
(Mark 1: 14-20)

It is a day that could be like any other.

The water is calm in the morning light
as the gulls thread the air with their singing.

The sun is warm on the backs of their necks
as the fishermen bend to their mending.

The blunted points of their wooden needles
float in, float out of the webbing –

create a loop, pinch with finger and thumb,
thread the needle through and then around again,

tighten the knot, pick up the next mesh –
callused hands repeating the operation

that has been handed down, fathers to sons,
from generation to generation.

The net’s hole rapidly closes. Conversation
weaves in, weaves out while they’re working,

returning often to talk of a preacher
whose words have set their hopes rising,

the hopes handed down like the knowledge
in their hands, woven into the fabric of living.

The wind is warm on the cheeks of his face
as the preacher comes near with his message.

The world is torn, there is brokenness of heart,
there are wounds everywhere in creation.

But the preacher has news, good news of change:
that God’s healing love is accessible,

and he knows this good news can mend the torn world,
can be threaded into every heart’s beating.

Now the preacher is calling them, calling their names,
calling them to take up new labour,

calling them to see, with the vision of hope,
people gathered in newness of community,

one they will help build, like a great catch of fish,
abundant with fresh possibility.

The water is calm in the morning light
and the gulls continue their singing.

The sun is warm on the backs of their necks
as the fishermen join Christ in his mending.

It is a day that is not – and yet could be – like any other . . .

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 2, Yr B)

THE ONE WHOSE HEART IS SEARCHING
(I Samuel 3: 1-10; John 1: 43-51)

Samuel on his bed beside the lamp,
its flame describing in slow pulses

the flickering hope
of a lonely, quiet yearning;

the hollow stillness
like a silent pond where

a searching voice could be heard
like a dropping pebble.

And in the dark and in the emptiness
the One who is doing the calling,

the One whose heart is searching,
is the unheard God.

*

Nathanael on the ground
under the fig tree, looking

up through its leaves at
an empty sky.

The leaves sift the sunlight,
its harshness is filtered,

but the shade over his soul
shows little gleam of joy.

His heart nearly closed
in its quest for truth,

his horizons have dimmed,
no corners of hope discerned.

But there is One who
remains watching and looking,

and the One who is searching for him
is the unrecognized God.

*

You and me on our beds,
our couches, you and me by our lamps.

You and me under spreading trees,
or peering at the sky through windows;

you and me at our office desks,
fingering the plastic of keyboards;

you and me in our living-rooms,
or sitting at our kitchen tables;

you and me, so yearning for hope,
so longing for meaning, truth, or joy –

may we become aware of the One
who is searching for us;

awake to the One
who knows and calls our names

longing for us to listen:
the God of promise and of invitation.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Baptism Of Jesus, Yr. B)

AND THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED
(Mark 1: 4-11)

See the wings shine.

The wings are the bright colour
of the morning of that first day
when light burst out of darkness,
the darkness of the void that was
the emptiness of the world
before God gave to it life;
that first day that was born
as God’s Spirit moved
and chaos was transformed by love.
The wings shine with the radiance of joy.

See the dove descend.

It is gentle as the touch
of the hand of love
that embraces a newborn child.
It is vibrant with the power
of the breath of the Spirit that
moved over the waters of creation.
In its breast beats the heart
that pulses with the grace
that is life from God eternal.
The dove descends with the fullness of joy.

Hear the voice of the heavens.

Hear the voice that spoke
from time’s beginning
declaring the goodness of creation.
Hear the word proclaimed
that speaks to all of time
the goodness of God’s Beloved.
Hear the voice as it sings
to all hearts that listen
God’s intention to bless the world.
It resounds with the exuberance of joy.

Attend.
Attend to the wings that shine upon us,
to the dove that descends here among us,
to the voice that sings to our hearts.
Then follow, by grace
to a future that is joy.