Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 1, Yr. A, 2020)

WILDERNESS
(Matthew 4: 1-11)

How few of us know wilderness,
here in these towns, sprawling cities,
the gray of their streets,
green shrunk down to
dots of lawn, patches of park,
the remnant trees silent
in their memories of an earth
mourning its lost forests
as Rachel would mourn for her children.

Perhaps this is wilderness: this loss
of wild nature, its replacement by
concrete and asphalt and steel,
its thinning rivers, its sickened oceans,
its creatures dwindling like the leaves
of a disease-stricken tree.

Perhaps this wilderness is where
the Christ must come today:
into this new human solitude,
this place slowly being emptied
of all life not our own,
this place where even God
becomes harder to find,
our relationship to the divine
put under hard pressure,
our temptation to be ourselves
the only god we will serve,
tempted to pretend we are invulnerable.

O Holy One, come into this,
our self-made wilderness.
Come be with us in the loneliness of
our cell phones and computers,
come be with us in our hunger
for the meaning of our life,
come into the wasteland we
are making of the earth,
this kingdom of our arrogance where
we so often forget the life-giving love of God.

O Holy One, help us here,
before this wilderness becomes
one we do not
know how to leave.

Copyright ©2020 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 4, Yr A, 2020)

BLESSÉD ONE
(Matthew 5: 1-12)

Blesséd One, whose Spirit dwelling with and in us
is self-emptying, self-giving,
may we see in you the realm and reign of heaven.

Blesséd One, who with us mourns, grieving
for the brokenness of the world,
may we know with you the comfort of God’s healing care.

Blesséd One, whose meekness, whose gentleness
challenges the violence of domination,
may you grow in us the kindness that saves the world.

Blesséd One, who in and with us hungers and thirsts
for justice and righted life,
may you satisfy our longing for the new creation.

Blesséd One, so merciful, mending and restoring
our lonely and suffering souls,
through our own gifts may others come to know your mercy.

Blesséd One, in whose heart of pure and eternal love
we behold God’s living presence,
may shadows lift that hide God’s light from our eyes.

Blesséd One, bringer and giver of God’s shalom for
all oppressed and hurting,
may we too as God’s children create the peace of God.

Blesséd One, persecuted by powers of injustice
and whom the selfish opposed,
may we with you know the victory of God’s reign and realm.

Blesséd One, who was crucified, but who
has risen over evil and hatred,
we rejoice that you are in and with us, as blessings ourselves.

Copyright ©2020 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary – Advent 1, Year A (2019)

ABOUT THAT DAY AND HOUR NO ONE KNOWS
(Matthew 24: 36-44)

The ordinary morning, through the kitchen windows
the sun coming in, the sounds of the waking street.
Your daughter’s hands exploring
her neck, plaintive voice at the breakfast table:
“Mommy, what’s this lump right here?”

It’s the end of the shift, you’re thinking
of home, the softness of the waiting chair.
The foreman has called the entire line
to meet first here in the lunchroom.
His eyes go wet, there’s a quiet whisper.
“They’re shutting the plant,” he says.

The busy afternoon, an acre of papers
upon your desk, your eyes on the demanding
screen. The cell phone chimes,
words in your ear like a distant siren’s wail:
“You’d better come. Better make it quick.
There’s been a terrible accident.”

They’ve given you something for the immediate
pain, from the hall the sound of someone hurrying.
Somewhere a beeping machine.
The doctor stiff beside your bed, her face
as still as the wall. “I’m afraid,”
she begins, “the X-rays show. . .” and
your eyes trace the veins on your hands.

An ordinary day. An ordinary hour.
The earth in its usual turning.
The breath in your lungs,
the blood in your heart.
And suddenly the thief
breaking into your world.
Suddenly the cry. The bell.

Copyright ©2019 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 1, Yr A)

THE CROSS CASTS ITS SHADOW
(Matthew 4: 1-11)

Pressured by hunger’s insistent immediacy
the test is to resist mere expediency.
He tosses a stone from his dusty hand.

Urged to consider an evident mortality
the test is to embrace the human reality.
His feet stay firm upon the patient land.

Confronted by power’s alluring temptation
the test is to live out a servant’s station.
He chooses to reject an earthly command.

O needy ones, humble ones, mortal and frail,
consider the Saviour’s sacrificial scale.
See the cross cast its shadow on the desert sand.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Last Sunday of Epiphany – The Transfiguration (Yr A)

GOD UNSHELTERED
(Matthew 17: 1-9)

The mind would build its shelters,
its walls, its solid boundaries,

its holding pens for those mysteries
that challenge the edges of thought;

would seek to grasp, to domesticate
the God beyond comprehension;

would seek with dogma’s fences
to keep wonder dulled and distant,

the heart thus safely protected
from the love that burns like fire.

See it consuming Moses on his mountain,
see it sweeping Elijah into heaven,

see it shining like the sun from Jesus’ face,
this love that moves God, unsheltered,

down the mountain, to the road to the cross.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 7, Yr A)

TO SEE BEYOND DIVISION
(Matthew 5:38-48)

O Healer of all brokenness,
help us repent of vengefulness
and send your mercy as the sun and rain.
Giver of all gentleness,
lead us away from selfishness
that we may walk with all who dwell in pain.

Creator, grant us vision
to see beyond division,
seeing even enemies as beloved too.
May we with bold decision
bring forgiveness to fruition;
and by your gift of grace our selves renew,

that we, our own hearts mending,
to others your love lending,
embrace your kingdom coming into view.
Use us, and in our sending,
the seeds of peace thus tending,
we’ll lift a new world’s joyfulness to you.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 6, Yr A)

THE DISCIPLE SHIP
(Matthew 5: 21-37)

Built of the leaky wood of our imperfections,
nailed together with hopes and best intentions,
sails of prayer hoisted into baffling wind,
our ship small, but committed to begin

its journey of faith, we steer into the waves
toward goals of love and justice Jesus gave.
Misty as distant islands they might seem,
and though the waves and winds across our beam

sometimes toss us backward, and our tack
sometimes so wide we struggle to stay on track,
our little ship will sail on, held together
through all calm or stormy weather

by the merciful grace of God. For it’s Christ’s
work we’ve set ourselves to do, Christ’s
course of sacrificial love we sail –
our guiding compass the cross. It does not fail.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King