Poem For the Sunday Lectionary, Epiphany 2, Yr. C

FOR THE JAR OF THE EMPTY HEART
(John 2: 1-11)

Sometimes, through no particular fault
of your own, the accumulated cares
of life build up and the storage vault
that holds your strength and hope goes bare.

Sometimes you gaze in longing east
to see the light of the dawn breaking
but clouds block the sun. And that feast,
that celebration you intended making

of life: sometimes the songs won’t come,
laughter fades, and like wine run dry
the jar of joy stands empty, a hollow drum.
But what if God knows this, and why

Jesus came to the wedding feast that day
was to show that God is with us in those
times of barren dryness, when what may
fill our heart’s jar are only tears, lid closed,

and lost the way to hope’s refreshing well. . .
What if Jesus comes that day expressly to spill
into that void his fresh and living water, telling
darkness to roll back for light, filling

the waiting jar of the empty heart
with Love’s own Presence: finest wine indeed.
Yes, Christ comes that life’s feast may truly start —
Love both source and goal, our deepest need.

So fill us to our brims, life-giving One;
may we be sharers in your earthly story.
May we spill love and joy ‘til that realm has come
that fills this precious world with all your glory.

Copyright ©2019 by Andrew King

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

PONTIUS PILATE POSTS TO HIS WEBLOG
(John 18: 33-37 (38a))

Had someone before me today
who some claimed
that he claimed
to be a king.
Some kind of Jewish messiah.

He did say he had a kingdom,
but one “not from this world”.

For a moment – a moment of weakness –
I wondered what that could mean, and if,
whatever it meant, it could be true.
Or partly true, or, of course, not true at all.

But then I remembered
I don’t care much about truth –
though lies can be a really useful tool.
But I don’t believe
that much truth really matters.

What matters is domination.
Power, however you keep it.
The legions I command.
The fear I can inspire.
The crosses I can nail my enemies to.

So who cares what kind of kingdom
this Jesus fellow has –
not I, unless
it comes backed up with swords.

He’s on a cross right now.
As I write this, he’s dying.
I doubt for him
any truth
could matter more.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

Poem For Good Friday

DO WE PLACE YOU IN A TOMB?
(John 19: 38-42)

Do we place you in a tomb, Loving One?
Do we wrap God’s saving love in funeral spices?
Having seen justice pierced, truth undone,
corruption’s blade red-edged by power’s devices

and faithfulness in us made frail by fear,
do we gather up our hundred-weight of grief
and give a silent thanks a tomb is near
where hope may be interred and bruised belief

put on death’s pale and clinging shroud?
Does our frail flesh bear your body there,
beloved, who last night, serving us, bowed,
whose now hurt healing hands so cared

for all the wounded, weary, weak?
Do we deliver to death’s endless cave
your words of peace, and no more speak
of hope, of love, of the life you gave?

Our feet on such a walk surely stumble.
Your light once shone into the world’s shadow.
Now our way is dark. Our fingers fumble
for a candle. O, how can we let you go?

Do we place you in a tomb, Loving One?

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

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

JESUS CAME AND STOOD AMONG THEM
(John 20: 19-31)

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
into locked rooms of hopelessness,
move through shut doors of fearfulness,
show us your power over death,
speak to us your peace.

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
into our grief and loneliness,
overcome barriers of helplessness,
breathe upon us your healing Spirit,
speak to us your peace.

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
into our crouching defensiveness,
break through our walls of selfishness,
show us your wounds of love,
speak to us your peace.

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
into the caves of unforgiveness,
free us from our tombs of bitterness,
remind us of your saving mercy,
speak to us your peace.

Send us from here, Lord Jesus,
into our world of neediness,
the world of hate and unkindness,
send us in the name of God’s love,
send us in the strength of your peace.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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

COME FROM THE FOUR WINDS, O BREATH
(Ezekiel 37: 1-14, John 11: 1-45)

All across the valley, scattered like stones,
lie the remnants of life in dry piles of bones,
and the flesh that was joy is long, long gone.
Shall the bones live again?
Ask the wind for its song.

The bones are as white as the teeth of the sun;
the bones are reminders that hope is all done,
and the tears of our grief are flowing on and on.
Shall the bones live again?
Ask the wind for its song.

Tears flow in the valleys in the lands of death,
but the Spirit is coming with new life-giving breath:
flesh again will clothe bone where once there was none.
And we will stand again
to join the wind in its song.

See the Christ at the graveside, Christ with his tears;
hear the voice that speaks love to our pain and our fears,
and hear his command
to let the shroud be undone.
In Christ we live again,
sings the wind in its song.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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

HELP US TO SEE
(John 9: 1-41)

What would we see, Lord,
if you healed our blindness today?

Would we see you at work
in the ones we think to be sinful?

Would we see you at work
among the outcasts of the world?

Would we see your love
for the poor, the homeless, the hungry?

Would we see your compassion
for the weak, the helpless, the afraid?

Would we see you
in the stranger, the foreigner, the refugee?

Would we see your likeness – can we grasp it –
in each one of ourselves?

Help us to see, Lord. Heal our blindness today.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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

WAITING AT THE WELL
(John 4: 5-42)

How often have I come here,
Jesus, to this place of
old faith and fresh neediness,
bent down with the burden
of my failures, stumbling
in my thirsting for hopefulness,
the cracked vessel of my heart
leaking grief. . .

how often have I come here
not expecting you in the heat
of my pressures,
not expecting you in the stress
of my confusion,
yet meeting you
who offers water to the helpless,
who quenches the raw thirst
for acceptance,
who gives the deep sustenance
of kindness without payment,
the nourishment of love without limit. . .

how often have you met me,
refilling my heart, leaving me
astonished again in the depths of my being
that you waited here
for me, even me?

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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

LAMB, WE LONG TO KNOW YOU
(John 1: 29-42)

Rabbi, we wish to learn from you:
tell us, where are you staying?
Our spirits near exhaustion, bent beneath our trophies,
our car wheels spinning, phones and laptops flickering,
the earth below our houses reeling from our heat,
we think our wisdom great as soaring mountains, as suns,
yet we have learned so little of life’s gentle meaning,
our weapon-wielding words betray our souls’ deep neediness,
our grasping hands disclose only desperate emptiness,
listen as our hearts reach out for new beginnings:
Teacher, we wish to learn from you.
Tell us, where are you staying?

Messiah, we need to follow you:
Show us, where are you leading?
We have walked blind alleyways of selfishness and hatred,
we have fallen into pits of bitterness and anger,
the hungry cry out from the ditches we’ve created,
the powerful push the weak into smaller, smaller corners,
voices of pain are echoing in unhearing hallways,
the digital city leans over lives with thin foundations,
hear us as our hearts reach out for fresh direction:
Messiah, we need to follow you.
Show us, where are you leading?

Lamb of God, we long to know you:
Bring us as guests into your dwelling.
In you we see in human form the fullness of God’s caring,
in you we see the majesty of grace forever shining,
compassion’s face, mercy’s hands that bear the scars of loving,
your flesh a curtain opened that leads to God’s own presence,
sharing with us our struggles, embracing us in our brokenness,
your words and way a path that offers peace and wholeness,
hear us as our hearts reach out for transformation:
Lamb, we long to know you.
Bring us as guests into your dwelling.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 7, Yr C)

THAT ALL MAY BE ONE
(John 17: 20-26)

May your people be one
as the seas are one
though salting a thousand shores.

May your people be one
as the wind is one
though whisper, though rush, though roar.

May your people be one
as the birds are one
though they sing a thousand songs.

May your people be one
as our prayers are one
though voiced in a thousand tongues.

May your people be one
as the light is one
though made of the colours of the rainbow.

May your people be one
as your love is one –
your love for all people, we know.

May your people be one
as you are one:
you in Christ, and Christ in you.

May your people be one
as the Spirit is one,
moving in us, moving through.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 6, Yr C)

HOW TO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED
(John 14: 23-29)

First you make a small opening just above your heart
and then, with great delicacy, withdraw a small part

and hold it to the light for inspection. Are you dismayed
to observe its frailty, its flaws? Just now it made

a sound like the indrawn breath of a child right before
it cries, in that moment it discovers that the more

of the world you come to know, the more frightening
it becomes. And not just fear, but guilt, harsh as lightning,

worry, grief, regret – all add their aching; you want
to hold your heart tighter in its trouble, but can’t

with tighter grip calm down the trembling. Yet just when
you might despair, you recall Christ’s promise once again

that God’s Spirit is with you here, and that Christ’s peace
is yours to claim. It is there like two more hands, each

more gentle than your own, holding your heart with you;
comfort and strength unfold their flower, courage too,

and you feel your anxiety unravel at last.
In the warm embrace of Christ’s love, letting the past

be past, mindful of the present moment alone,
you rest your peace-filled heart in a safe place. You’re home.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King