A Poem For Easter Sunday (Yr B)

(Mark 16: 1-8)

We saw where the body of Jesus was laid,
laid within the tomb.
And we asked
who will roll the stone away,
who will roll away the stone.

We heard the angel: “Christ has risen:
behold his empty tomb”.
And we asked
where to go to find him,
now that he has gone.

The angel said he’s going ahead of you:
to Galilee he’s gone.
And we asked
what he’ll do in Galilee
in the place we know as home.

The angel said you’ll find him where new life
lifts hearts of those in tombs.
So we asked
to be those who serve him,
who show that life has won.

We find him risen feeding the hungry,
risen among the poor,
and we meet
him among the friendless
and bringing the homeless home.

Thus we say, today, in our Galilee,
pointing to the empty tomb:
see where God
is rolling the stone away,
is rolling away the stone.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Passion Of Christ, Yr B)

(Mark 14:1 – 15:47)

I tell of the hand, its suppleness, strength,
how it performs every wish of our thought:
subtlety to smooth and shape wood, clay, paint;

and by its powers great structures are wrought.
With the hand we salute, we show caring,
kindness; the hand undoes the tangled knot,

lifts the fallen and helps the ones bearing
the heavy load; the hand the instrument
of holding, releasing; keeping, sharing –

whatever it is that our hearts have meant
to accomplish. Consider then the hands
at work in this story. See the pair bent

to pour the perfume on Jesus. It lands
fragrant, filling the still air with rich breath,
gift of tenderness to one whose commands

had healed many, but for whom, she knows, death
looms. From hands flow love. But hands, too, clutch greed,
cruelty in their fists. See Judas, met

by the chief priests in the grip of their need
to be rid of Jesus. Judas’ hands reach
for the coins of betrayal. He will feed,

one of the twelve, at the table, where each
will protest steadfastness. See their hands dip
with Christ’s in the bowl. And what does it teach

when Christ’s hands break bread for us, when the sip
of the cup handed round is his blood? When
his hands wash our feet on their dusty trips

through the roughness of the world? Can we learn
forgiveness from his fingers? Or will ours
be the hands of injustice, those that spurn

mercy: swords waved in the garden, glowers
of fury on faces, hands tearing clothes,
hands striking, abusing him through the hours.

See the guards hang on him a purple robe.
The hands whipping. The ones placing the crown
of thorns. Words and hands conspiring as goads

as he stumbles on his way up the hill. Down
the long years we have seen what they did there,
the hands swinging hammers, nailing his own

to the cross. But see, with the curtain’s tear,
God’s hand at work too: the cross is the way
to salvation.
At last with Joseph’s care

hands are tender again, and thus display
again the heart’s power to love; and so
even a tomb, on this darkest of days,

becomes touched by the presence of grace. Go
to touch with that grace whatever you will.
Be Christ’s hands. Let the redeemed heart show,
that this crucifying world know his love still.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

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

(John 12: 20-36)

The time is here: be lifted, Human One,
to glorify the God whose rule is love;
the hour of sacrifice is why you’ve come.
Now may we hear the voice that speaks above!

The time is ripe: be planted, Faithful Seed,
to be the grain that life abundant gives.
Teach us the death-to-self that is our need —
that willingness to serve is how to live.

The time is now: shine out, O Lord of Light
into our hearts, into the shadowed earth;
show us the way to love; give us the sight
that sees in every soul eternal worth.

The time has come: be lifted, Holy One,
to draw all people to your saving grace;
as children of your light may we become
the ones who share your love through time and space.

Copyright ©2015 by Andrew King

Note: For use as a hymn (metre: 10 10 10 10), I might suggest the tunes Ellers or Harris. Other suggestions?

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

(Numbers 21: 4-9; John 3: 14-21)

No need to explain how the serpent’s bite
surfaces (stealthy as the coming of night)
while you’re reading the news; or worried and alone;
or when suffering long; or when a doctor intones
challenging words; or when darkness falls;
or the voice on the end of the telephone call
declares a once-loved relationship done;
when hope seems lost, when joy seems gone.

No need to explain how this serpent hides
next door to our hearts, marks left inside
where poison drips from the tip of its fangs:
in rage, in bitterness, in lonely pangs
of guilt and regret; in the resentments we bear.
And in hurts that we cause we do our own share
of spreading its toxin and resulting grief.
The serpent is death – the fear of it.  Relief

ever seems to elude us; but we may declare
its ultimate defeat; for above its shadow there
rises greater light – see, lifted up,
the one who for us drank the cup
of suffering, whose love even in death
conquered its evil; by whose living breath
we also may thrive. We turn trusting eyes,
snake-bitten, upon Christ, and the serpent dies.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

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

(John 2: 13-22)

In a building that is not a building
but the dusty halls of my spirit,
in a heart that is not just a heart
but an intended-to-be-holy temple,

there are sheep and there are cattle
that are not sheep and cattle
but the worries and concerns
and the sorrows of life,

and there are dulled coins and doves
that are not coins and doves
but the tarnished hopes and dreams
of an aging mind,

and they clutter and crowd the courtyard,
cloud the air with their smells and voices,
their noises of stress and hunger:
overpowering the words of prayer.

Saviour, come into the spaces
of this yearning-to-be-holy temple,
come and cleanse this heart of distractions,
help me clear the clutter, the noises,

make it more of a place of listening
open to the mystery of your presence,
a space of restfulness, a quiet center
for lifting unfettered prayer.


For my poem about the Ten Commandments (this week’s reading from Exodus 20) please follow this link.