Poem For The Sunday Lectionary – Advent 2, Yr A (2019)

OLD PROPHET
(Isaiah 11: 1-9)

The wolf yet sees no alternative
to the lamb it’s preparing to eat.
The lion knows no other narrative
but the one that says it must eat meat.

The violent, like vipers, still bite us;
the greedy still coil in their dens;
the cruel and uncaring still smite us
with so many still in poverty’s pen.

But your vision, old prophet, still lures us;
your promise still tugs at our hearts.
For the God that you know still assures us
that God will complete what God starts.

So we’ll go on proclaiming this story
of a hurt world radically new,
when the earth fills at last with love’s glory,
and to all comes the peace that is due.

Copyright ©2019 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 (Advent IV, Yr. C)

THE CHILD LEAPS IN ELIZABETH’S WOMB
(Luke 1: 39-45)

The child leaps in Elizabeth’s womb
to greet God’s coming gift:
may mothers and infants everywhere
share in that blesséd lift.

May hungry children leap for joy
that hunger soon will end;
that suffering ones, that fearful ones,
find help from heaven’s friends.

In this world so torn by hate, may
each know love’s embrace.
May those who’ve felt the pain of war
know peace is heaven’s face.

The child leaps in Elizabeth’s womb.
In us is there a twin?
May hearts everywhere join in eager response
to God’s love, near, within.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 3, Yr. C)

THE FLOW OF GRACE IS WHAT ERODES THE STONE
(Luke 3: 7-18)

John has news to tell that’s not well known:
the Coming One redraws the social chart.
The flow of grace is what erodes the stone.

In fertile soil of love is God’s realm grown
that flowers in earthly justice, part by part.
John has news to tell that’s not well known.

God’s reign, therefore, in actions must be shown;
our kindness be the way it makes its start.
The flow of grace is what erodes the stone.

Sharing, compassion, caring: these set the tone;
and from these paths of peace let none depart.
John has news to tell that’s not well known.

Be sure no greed or hate will share the throne;
we know God’s reign by love’s own gentle art.
The flow of grace is what erodes the stone.

So change me, God, within, spirit and bone.
Break the selfish shell around my heart.
I listen for the news that’s not well known:
God’s flow of grace is what erodes the stone.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

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

THE RIGHT TIME
(Luke 3: 1-6)

It had lain in the corner of the room,
an old box long unopened, collecting dust.
It had stood upon the top shelf of the cupboard,
a jar almost forgotten, tightly sealed.
But it was time.

The sun had risen as it always does,
people moved through streets, the thirsty fields.
The rulers of the world still issued edicts.
The poor still suffered and struggled.
Aching hearts in shadow.
The empire complacent in its harsh control.

Everywhere the accepted routines of life.

But in this John knew that the time had come.
Time to take down the almost forgotten jar,
to open at long last the dusty box of hope
and set free the contents strong as
pungent clouds of incense, strong as
inescapable swarms of stinging bees.
Time to disrupt the usual routine.
Time to release the remembered promise
of a God who is out to shake the empires
of the trapped and desperately dreamless
sleeping world.
John knew it was the right time then.
It remains the right time now.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

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

DREAM
(Matthew 1: 18-25)

O Joseph, dream for us:
In this world of so much darkness,
dream God-with-us to be our light.

In this world of so much sorrow,
dream God-with-us to be our joy.

In this world of so much fearing,
dream God-with-us to be our courage.

In this world of so much selfishness,
dream God-with-us to teach compassion.

In this world of so much hating,
dream God-with-us to teach us love.

In this world of so much violence,
dream God-with-us to lead us to peace.

In this world of many, many voices
dream God-with-us to be God’s Word.

In this world of so much confusion,
dream God-with-us to be our guide.

In this world of so much despairing,
dream God-with-us to be our hope.

In this world of so much emptiness,
dream God-with-us to bring fullness of life.

O Joseph, dream for us.

And may we awake
to discover the dream
has truly come into the world.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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

STILL HUNGRY FOR THE DREAM
(Isaiah 11: 1-10, Matthew 3: 1-12, Romans 15: 4-13)

See the vision, hear the message:
wolf and lamb lying down in peace,
nothing hurting, nothing wronging,
war and violence all ceased.

Jesse’s stump shall grow new blossom,
from that root new branch and leaf,
come to judge the world with justice,
come to heal the needy’s grief.

          Prophet, can you help our hearts,
          so hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Prophet, can you help us turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door?

In the wilderness a preacher
burns our souls like desert sand,
calling for fruit of repentance,
says the kingdom is at hand.

There is One, says John, who’s coming,
who’s the One that we desire.
He will bathe you, not in Jordan,
but in the Holy Spirit’s fire.

          Prophet, can you help our hearts,
          so hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Prophet, can you help us turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door?

Open up the heart to hoping:
Christ the light that leads to day.
Hear the message, see the vision,
as the prophets point the way.

          Saviour, can you help our hearts,
          still hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Saviour, help us now to turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King