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

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +22, Yr B)

BARTIMAEUS
(Mark 10: 46-52)

Where have you been today, Bartimaeus?
“I’ve been in a world of hunger and fear and darkness.
I’ve been by the side of the road I name despair.
I’ve been cast off, like something beyond repair.”

What have you heard today, Bartimaeus?
“I’ve heard the pain of those who cry for justice.
I’ve heard the pain of those who cry for peace.
I’ve heard someone is near who brings release.”

What do you need today, Bartimaeus?
“I need to know that joy can rise from ashes.
I need to know that hope can rise from grief.
I need to see the sun touch the lifted leaf.”

What did you do today, Bartimaeus?
“I called to the Son of David who comes to save us.
I called to the One who mercy freely gives.
I called to the One whose power opened my grave.”

Where are you going today, Bartimaeus?
“To be with Christ as he brings new days to others.
To follow the One who’s brought me this new sight.
To share with all God’s people this new life.”

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +21, Yr B)

NOT TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE
(Mark 10: 35-45)

Is that you, Lord,
changing the diaper in the nursing home,
holding the spoon for the woman in her wheelchair,
wiping down the toilet and the floor;

is that you
serving the dinner at the homeless shelter,
sorting the cans at the food bank,
mowing the aged neighbour’s lawn;

is that you, Lord,
bandaging the wounds of the bomb victim,
erecting the tent for the refugees,
handing out the water and the food;

is that you
driving the patient to the treatment center,
sitting through the night with the family,
making the call to the forgotten friend;

is that you, Lord,
lighting the candle in the darkness,
keeping vigil for compassion and justice,
loving in us and through us and with us

until the world that you love has been changed?

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +20, Yr B)

THE QUESTIONING
(Mark 10: 17-31)

The day breaks gray,
the light uncertain
as if unsure of its purpose,
as if making up its mind
about morning; it eases
to a window where a weary
man is leaning, wakeful, eyes
restless, scanning an inner
horizon where thoughts
that will not sleep
cluster, diverge, repeat
their incessant questioning.

The light wanders his rooms,
collects glints from the filigree,
the fine silken fabrics,
the ornaments of wealth,
but his eyes do not follow
its path. With clear memory’s vision
what he sees are other eyes:
the pair that beheld him
yesterday on the road.

“One thing you lack,” Jesus said,
to him who lacked for nothing.
“Sell what you own and follow me.”
And there was warmth in Jesus’ eyes,
there was love for him who questioned
about inheriting eternal life.
But then
such sadness in their depths
as he turned away.
Now today his thoughts, unsettled,
gray as dull daybreak,
interrogate the hollow
in his soul.

Behind him in his rooms
stretch the trophies of the years,
the gathered costly trinkets
that once so warmed his heart.
But their colours seem now cold
and today he is uncertain
about what is and is not “treasure”.
And he cannot turn his face
from the window.
He cannot
turn his gaze from the road.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +18, Yr B)

IF YOUR FOOT CAUSES YOU TO STUMBLE. . .
(Mark 9: 38-50)

These words of seeming mutilation:
how strange to us, the exaggeration
for heightened effect. The need for change
is what they’re about – to rearrange
one’s attitudes, actions, use of speech,
habitual ways. If what we reach
for is not to serve someone in love
but to serve ourselves (choosing to shove
aside another’s dignity or need),
then it’s our selfishness and greed
that cause us from the path to fall
(forgive the feet); it is the stubborn call
of pride that just won’t bend
(and not the hand) that most offends.
If our path from God’s has swerved,
look well inside, to that which serves
the will. There seek healing. And maybe start
with where most hurting dwells – the heart.

Poem for The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +17, Yr B)

THE LOVE THAT EMBRACES ALL OF US
(Mark 9: 30-37)

Jesus welcomes the children
The light is passed from face to face
as if from flower to flower
as children, hand in hand, race
to greet the one in whose embrace
the smallest finds acceptance.   Power

is not so often used to serve the weak,
the under-valued vulnerable,
the helpless. But Jesus seeks
his followers to bend to serve, speaks
of being welcomed among the little

and the least; welcoming the very One
who sent him. Have we yearned
for greatness? Here it is, among
these shining faces; and in Christ’s gentle song,
the love that embraces all of us, unearned.


Image: JESUS MAFA. Jesus welcomes the children, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.