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

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 5, Yr C)

GOSPEL WITHOUT WALLS
(Acts 11: 1-18; John 13: 31-35)

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. . .” – Robert Frost

Some One there is who ever loves us all,
whose grace declares none of us unclean,
in whose life and death barriers come down:
Jesus is one who doesn’t love a wall.

To love our neighbour, near and far, our call,
and more: to love as Jesus loved, for that,
he said, will truly mark his followers.
Jesus is one who doesn’t love a wall.

And this Peter discovered in the fall
of a rigid prejudice held so long
only the voice of God could shake it loose –
our Lord is one who doesn’t love a wall.

May this, too, be our vision, seeing all
as God sees, undivided by our fears,
resentments, our old sinful selfishness,
God-graced to share the gospel without walls.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 4, Yr C)

MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE
(John 10: 22-30)

Help us to hear your voice, gentle Shepherd,
when the wolves of hate howl and swarm.
Help us to hear your voice when the sounds
of our own anxious cries rise like storm.

Help us to listen to you, gentle Shepherd,
through our raging, our anguish, our grief.
Help us to hear your love’s invitation
as you bid us to dwell in your peace.

Help us to listen, as the high peaks listen for
the snow melt’s murmur of spring.
Help us to listen, as the deep woods listen for
the wind and the song it brings.

Help us to listen, as the still lake listens for
the kiss of the sun at dawn.
Help us to listen, as the low clouds listen for
the whisper of mist on the pond.

Help us to listen, as the soft earth listens for
the rain in the fronds of the fern.
Help us to listen, as the pale moon listens for
the day to make its return.

Help us to listen, as the longing heart listens for
the voice of the friend at the door.
Help us to listen, gentle Shepherd, and listening,
learn to hear you better, and more.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 3, Yr C)

CONVERSION
(Acts 9: 1-20)

Is it only there, far away and then,
or could it be any place,
could it be this place,
could it be here and this hour?

Could it be you staring into truth as into
the sun, the searing shock of awareness
burning away what you thought you’d known,
until all you now can see is the fire of light?

Could it be your eyes trying to adjust
to truth’s reversal of shadow,
the inside-out reshuffle of all your certainty,
the upside-down disruption of rightness and way?

And there is the voice in which truth speaks
echoing in your mind like music
but whose words sting like hammers
against the stony surfaces of your soul.

Is it yours, the shiver of anxiety felt
as familiar walls of comfort begin to crumble?
The waiting in the darkened room of sorrow
for the guilt of previous prejudice to start to fade?

But now may your hands unclench, gentle;
the sea of your heart lie quiet, calm;
now may your mind become cup, open,
held in stillness like someone to be fed.

Now what you know is there is more truth
prepared for you. More insight, more
learnings to come. But now you are ready,
you are waiting, unblinking.

For God to visit as friend
to listening friend.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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