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

WHAT THOMAS WANTS
(John 20: 19-31)

Thomas knows all about crucifixion.
Knows the nails driven into the victim
really tear the flesh,
damage the bones.

And he knows that this
is a crucifying world,
with all its violence,
greed and oppression

still hammering nails into the hands of justice,
still thrusting spears through the ribs of love,
still hanging mercy and kindness to die
and sealing up the tomb.

Thomas knows all about it.
So he knows that any real resurrection
will have to come out of ruin,
will have to come out of suffering,

will have to come out still bearing the scars
inflicted by the unjust world.

Ask him not
if he believes in
merely a God
who is greater than suffering or death;
any God worth the name
would surely prove immortal,
who may be able to pretend our pain
but could never share it in truth.

No, what Thomas wants to see
is the Lord who rises from
death by crucifixion,

who rises
from the worst that our world can do:
who rises
from hells of corruption and cruelty,
who rises
from violence and terror and hate,
who rises
from rape and torture and war,
who rises
from hunger and disease and squalor,
who rises
torn and terribly scarred
yet walking among us still,

who will touch us in
our woundedness,
who will hold us in
our brokenness,
who sees in us
the prints left by the nails,

who will put his own hurt hand upon
our heartache, fear and despair
and breathe his healing peace
into our souls.

This is who Thomas wants to see – the only
Lord he wants to believe in.

Thomas just wants to see
Jesus.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

A Poem For Easter Sunday (Yr C)

ODES FOR EASTER PEOPLE
(John 20: 1-18)

~ 1 ~

From what I’ve known of emptiness
it’s usually an empty place,
but the empty tomb of Jesus
holds the world of time and space.

From what I’ve known of losses
there’s often nothing left to be heard,
but death could not hold Jesus
and does not have the final word.

From what I’ve known of tombstones
stillness is statement and claim,
but the stone rolled back for Jesus
and all our destiny is changed . . .

~ 2 ~

We spin our tombs out of tough threads
of rage, grief, bitterness, regret,
sealed inside with our guilt, our dreads

where no light comes. And yet
we are not abandoned, and there
in the hard cocoon, if we let it,

we may begin to change. Care
breaks in, God’s loving breath, warm;
and slowly the old life, stripped bare,

begins to break apart, transform,
emerge as something different, new –
the old hurts and wounds, the torn

places, the toughened parts too
starting to heal; our being beginning to change.
In time we can choose to leave our cocoon,

and with trust, it splits open. And with strange
bright wings unfolding to the fragrant air
we surface – by death and resurrection rearranged.

~ 3 ~

I know you’re there, my Easter flower,
hidden for a while in earth’s deep darkness,
soon to break forth like song out of silence,
soon to show again your resurrection power,

rising up where no weed should be growing, out
of rough dirt, smooth lawns, cracks between stones,
rising again from being cut, pulled up, mowed down,
supposedly dead. I know the scented white shout

of the trumpets of lilies is the common choice
in sanctuaries showing Easter joy and glory,
but for me it is your undefeatable story,
the stubborn ruggedness of your sunlit voice,

that best symbolizes the resilience of faith
and the undying steadfastness of God’s love.
Try as the world might to root out and shove
you back to the dark, your bright yellow face

still blooms where it will. Irrepressible weed,
may your ever-renewing blossoms become
a sign of the kingdom of which every one
of us can be joyous, undefeated, irrepressible seed.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Palm Sunday, Yr C)

CRY BLESSÉD
(Luke 19: 28-40; John 12: 12-16)

Now comes the giver of peace to the troubled,
now comes the bringer of hope to the weak;
now comes the healer with strength for the hurting;
rides on a donkey the king that we seek.

Now comes the hen to the den of the foxes,
now come the gentle wings open and wide
to comfort the fearful, gather the lost ones;
wings pierced with nails, a wound in the side.

Now comes the Word who is good news among us,
now comes the Shepherd who lays down his life;
behold him, the Lamb of God’s saving mercy;
the Light against whom the darkness will rise.

Blesséd the One who brings God’s love and justice;
blesséd the One who calls us to the same;
blesséd the One who can break death’s dominion;
blesséd the One who has come in God’s name.

Lift high the branches, the palm leaves of praising;
cover with garments of praise the hard ground;
soon comes betrayal, too soon the injustice;
too soon the grief and forgotten the song.

Cry “blesséd!” the One who goes through the trial,
cry “blesséd!” the One who suffers the pain;
cry “blesséd!” the One who bleeds God’s forgiveness.
Cry “blesséd!” the One who’s with us in God’s name.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King


For a slightly lighter treatment, may I suggest “The Story Of Palm Sunday (As Told For The Young)”, found here.

Poem for the Sunday Lectionary (Lent 5, Yr C)

THE ANOINTING
(John 12: 1-11)

Already the sun has set, pulling the light from the sky behind it.
Already the shadows have detached themselves from lamps
and clustered in the corners of the room.

As the smells of the eaten meal begin to fade, the talk to rise,
you sense the time has come to take the jar, the alabaster jar,
the one you have kept so long, and almost holding your breath,

you kneel at the feet of Jesus.
His eyes on you are gentle, seeming to see into your heart,
into your own private shadows, but his love casts out your fear

as you untie his sandals’ thongs and open the lid of the jar
to the powerfully fragrant amber-coloured nard.
The oil slowly pours. The first drops hit the ankles, flow

downward over the bones toward the rough skin of his heels,
spreading over the curved top of the foot. Still you pour this thanks,
this liquid praise, running it to his toes, dripping it from the insteps

while the fragrance builds and builds, ascending like the incense
in the temple, rising from this altar of bones and skin,
skin a shade of road dust, veins the colour of sorrow

which you drape with your hair of midnight, letting it fall
and tumble, and as you use your hair like a towel the fragrance soaks
you both, smell of awe and holiness, smell of love and sacrifice,

scent of light and shadow in a wave like something approaching
that will be stronger than death and burial, that will fill the house
of mind and heart like a perfumed burst

of dawn.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King