Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 2, Yr C)

HERE WE COME, JOHN
(Luke 3: 1-6, Luke 1: 68-79, Malachi 3: 1-4)

Here we come, John, to you in the wilderness
walking hot sands in the empire of death

carrying our hope like a child in its weakness
carrying our need like a babe seeking breath

our souls weeping tears of the griefs of the ages
our hearts bleeding pain of the stress of our years

yearning like birds seeking freedom from cages
for newness and fullness of life free from fear

and facing the mountains that tower with injustice
and dreading the valleys grown deep with despair

and craving the dawn of a new day upon us
and wondering how current God’s promise of care

we come to you, John, and you preach repentance
and wash us in Jordan in refreshment’s release

that we might experience the joy of forgiveness
and on the world’s roads walk a pathway of peace

so speak to us, here, in or out of wild places
that our lives like gold or silver refined

mirror God’s goodness as we lift up our faces
to follow the Coming One with new heart and mind.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 1, Yr C)

ON A STORMY SHORE
(Luke 21: 25-36)
  with some words of W.B. Yeats

In a dream I walked on a stormy shore
where the nations were ships caught in wild waves,
tossed in the heave and the dark curling roar

of a blood-dimmed tide while frantic crews, brave
but confused, fought the loosed anarchy, scanned
the gyrating needles. But though the grave

loomed hungry and the violence at hand
filled many with foreboding, on each ship
some lifted heads in hope, as if the planned

harbour were near, safety waiting at trip’s
end, storms overcome and peace unfolding.
On land they’d seen the trees, the brown leaves slipped

off as if in death, naked limbs holding
only air, life seemingly departed.
But the leaves budded again, strength growing

green as summer, life and joy re-started,
winter past. Thus these hopeful ones grasped
lines on each ship, held sail firm, strong hearted,

grounded in faith, sure of One whose arms clasped
theirs in love: love greater than fear, than death;
in whom and by whom they would stand at last.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

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

SONNET FOR THE REIGN OF CHRIST
(John 18: 33-37)

You, upon your throne of self-giving love
set upon a garbage-heap – that tower
of wood where on a dark day you are shoved
(to be rid of you) by the world’s powers –
you who called the blind to new ways of sight
and freed from their chains the captives to fear
and despair; who, with love’s strength in fresh light,
called the lost from graves, yet commanding here
no armies, holding here no sword, allow
yourself to suffer death for others – your
rule is surely not of this world. But how
surely it is our need! Show us the door
to true peace, O Christ. Rule our hearts: your voice
our one guide. Your way of love our one choice.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +25, Yr B)

WITH PAINFUL GROANS
(Mark 13: 1-8)

God’s realm of love does not arrive full blown:
the Spirit labours long in human hearts.
The future comes to birth with painful groans.

Like the tumbling of the temple’s ancient stones
change will pull some precious things apart.
God’s realm of love does not arrive full blown.

Deep change, like tremors in earth’s shifting bones,
reshapes the world, redraws the social chart.
The future comes to birth with painful groans.

Rejecting hate, which far too many own,
can sow the seed of change that needs to start –
God’s realm of love does not arrive full blown.

Oppressive power, clinging to its throne,
is like the seized-shut brake that stops the cart.
The future comes to birth with painful groans.

God’s will for justice, peace, has been made known
but bears fruit only part by tender part:
God’s realm of love does not arrive full blown.
The future comes to birth with painful groans.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

Note: The fourth stanza’s first line has been revised
since its original publication. The original words were:
“And even war, which far too many own”. In my opinion,
the revised words are much to be preferred. – A.K.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +24, Yr B)

POUR US OUT LIKE UNENDING LOVE
(1 Kings 17: 8-24; Mark 12: 38-44)

Where are you now, Elijah?
Where are the jars of meal and the jugs of oil
that will not run out of resources?
Where are you now among the widows
desperate with fear and hunger;
where are you now among the children
who must struggle just for survival;
where are you now, Elijah,
among the homeless and the helpless of the world?

Were you there with the disciples, Elijah,
watching gifts go into the treasury,
watching a lonely widow sacrifice
all that she had for living,
watching her place her life and future
in the hands of God?

I see where you are, Jesus:
I see you laying down your life for others,
I see you giving your body to be broken,
I see God in you, holding back nothing –
holding back nothing like
a sacrificing widow,
holding back nothing like
a jug of poured oil –
I see God who is willing to give everything
for the sake of the salvation of the world.

I hear your call to us, as God called Elijah,
to go to the sad and despairing;
I see you showing us, as you showed
your disciples,
the sacrifices made by the caring;
I hear you calling us to be part of giving
all that we are
for the sake of your future,
all that we have
for your love for the world.

O, pour us out, God, Holy Giver.
Pour us out, like unending love.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King