Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 2, Yr. B)

AFTER THE CONFESSION
(Mark 8: 31-38)

You tried to explain it to your brother once,
and to yourself, the sense you’ve had

growing within you since that day
Jesus called you to follow, and you did –

that sense of awe, of something forcing cracks
into familiar walls of thought, like that time

as a child when you first saw the sea, not
the Galilean waters from which your family fished,

but the Mediterranean, vast, blue, the deep waves
rolling in, the ships sailing out, their square sails

growing small as they headed to the horizon
from which the wind blew a salt scent

to your skin, while your thoughts tried to grasp
something big beyond words . . .

and today here is Jesus, asking what people
have been naming him, and you use the word

that comes so easily to your lips, it slips
like breathing from your mouth: “Messiah”,

yet you sense as you say it that you’re trying
to name the sea, but describing

just the beginning of an ocean of truth;
and sure enough: Jesus speaks about suffering death

almost as if it were part of a plan,
which surely can’t be, but he rebukes

your rebuke of him, talks of taking up a cross,
of losing life to find it –

suddenly you are again that young child
on the shore, watching a boat leave harbour

on a deeper sea than you’ve ever known –
and somehow the ship that’s leaning into the wind

has its deck underneath your own feet.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 1, Yr B)

AND HE WAS WITH THE WILD BEASTS
(Genesis 9: 8-17, Mark 1: 9-15)

Jesus knows God loves the earth,
its beasts: he thinks of Noah,
the families of animals
patiently gathered, the deluge
survived, looking wearily
out of the ark onto
what was left
of what he’d known,
wreckage all around,
the twisted bits of wood
that had been trees, rubble
that had been houses, mud
covering everything, mud
and the stench of decay,
his eyes filling with tears;
and God — like Noah
grieving the ruin
and memory of beauty —
sorrowing, repenting
of destruction, declaring
“never again, never again”:
a covenant made,
its sign displayed
in brilliance in the clouds,
hovering somewhere
over the animals that,
scattered from the battered hulk,
begin their search for food
on the shattered ground.

*

Jesus knows God loves the earth,
its many peoples,
he knows God wants
to take them into an ark
of compassionate love,
to save them from destruction
of their own making.
So he carries the brokenness
of the world into this
pathless place of longing —
as he is with the beasts
in the wilderness,
in the hungering and searching,
so he is with us in our hungry
search for love;
as he is with the beasts in needing
shelter from the sun and cold,
so he is with us in our need
for peace and joy.
And as the angels minister to him,
so he will walk love’s paths among us,
he will feed us in our emptiness
and comfort us in the wasteland
of our sorrows.
A fresh covenant of love
is waiting to be displayed,
and he has come
to be its sign forever.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary – The Transfiguration

THE LIGHT WE’VE BEGUN TO KNOW
(Mark 9: 2-10; 2 Corinthians 4: 3-6)

We think we know light’s movements –
the way sun’s rays can play across
the surface of the water, the way
it falls from candle flame, or
softly sifts through leaves to lift
the petals on their stems, opening up
each blossom like a blessing.

We think we know light’s gradients –
the way it can take the shade of rain
or break into the colours of the rainbow;
the way it burns a hole in blue
from the blazing summer sun;
or reddens clouds before it gives
night’s gift of stars and moon.

We think we know light’s stories –
like the glow that shone from Moses’ skin
as he brought the law in stone down
from the mountain; or the brilliance
of the fire of the chariot and riders
that swept to heaven the prophet named Elijah.

But today the light we thought we knew
has taken on new radiance, has made
an unexpected move, is telling a new story;
it dazzles the eyes but more our hearts,
for this is the light embodied: this
is the light of the knowledge of God
that shines in the face of Jesus.

Nor is this the final story
that the light in Christ will tell:
the veil that is lifted so briefly
upon his unseen glory drops again;
the tale to remain untold
until his rising from the dead – when
the light we’ve begun to know

makes its home in the church,
to reveal his glory in us,
and transfigured will be me and you.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 5, Yr B)

AND THERE HE PRAYED
(Mark 1: 29-39)

In the darkness, light:
enfolding him, embracing him,
as we are embraced and enfolded
in our prayer.

In the emptiness, presence:
meeting him, receiving him,
as we are met and received
in our prayer.

In the stillness, peace:
nourishing him, refreshing him,
as we are refreshed and nourished
in our prayer.

In the spaciousness, listening:
hearing him, affirming him,
as we are heard and affirmed
in our prayer.

In the sacredness, calling:
beckoning him, directing him,
as we are directed and beckoned
in our prayer.