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

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +26, Yr B)

PRAY FOR US, HANNAH
(1 Samuel 1: 4-20)

Pray for us, Hannah, in our bleakness, our barrenness,
God’s realm in us slow in coming to birth.
Pray for us here in our struggles, our brokenness,
yearning for justice to come to the earth.

Pray for us, Hannah, in the world’s night of lovelessness,
around us the hurting so often unheard.
Pray that all those who cry out in their helplessness
receive for their cries an answering word.

Pray for us, Hannah: the foundations are shaking
that underlie hope for a new world to come.
Pray that we discover God’s will in us waking,
calling forth faithful response to love’s drum.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

For a poem on the Gospel lesson for this Sunday,
may I suggest “With Painful Groans

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +25, Yr B)

CHOICES OF GOD
(Ruth 3: 1-5, 4:13-17)

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” 1 Cor. 1:27

How foolish of you, God, to choose
these weak ones, these widows,

these powerless in their poverty,
these vulnerable, so needy,

migrants seeking refuge,
landless, needing shelter,
hungry and hurting for food.

What use can the weak ever possibly be
to your hope for an earth made new,
your will for a world transformed?

What use can they be, so often ignored
by the rich, abused by the strong?

But we see these seemingly
insignificant women
become agents of your power in the world,

agents of history, progenitors of change,
contributors to our hoped-for salvation.

How foolish your choices
may seem to us, Holy One.
Yet how wise and how mighty
in the end.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Reign Of Christ)

SONG FOR THE CRUCIFIED KING
(Luke 23: 33-43)

The king has no castle, just a piece of a tree,
and there’s a crooked sign hanging for the world to see,
and his friends have all left him,
like the light of this day.
It’s a strange kind of kingdom
if it’s going to be ruled in this way.

There is justice denied, and the Christ betrayed.
There was a new world coming but I guess it’s been delayed,
and the dreams that we held,
looks like they’re slipping away.
It’s a strange kind of kingdom
if it’s going to be ruled in this way.

He came preaching mercy, and healing he gave.
He saved the lives of others, now he too will know the grave;
yet his words are love,
as if it’s here to stay.
It’s a strange kind of kingdom
if it’s going to be ruled in this way.

The warplanes are screaming, the children are lost;
The planet is heating, and at what kind of cost;
and the hungry are hurting
while they kneel to pray.
But God’s strange kind of kingdom
shows the world there’s a different way.

It’s darkness when cruelty and greed show their face.
It’s darkness when our hatreds crucify God’s grace,
but the love of the Lord
brings to light a new day.
It’s a strange kind of kingdom
and it’s going to be ruled in this way.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +25, Yr C)

ON DEATH AND RESURRECTION
(Luke 20: 27-38)

How shall we ask for explanation, for precision
when it is mystery opening into mystery
horizon opening to horizon
when it is silence dancing with shadow
a field holding secrets like snow

Shall we ask the river water of the sea to which it flows
the resting seed of the perfumed petal’s curl
shall we ask the whitened wood of the green leaf of springtime
the moonlit cloud of morning’s rising sun

Can understanding grasp that transcendent transformation
the clay of us breaking into blossom
the wings of us waking to the sky

What we have is the answer that Abraham heard
when he gave up trying to number the stars
what we have is the answer that Moses received
when he bowed before the bush that burned

And the answer will surface from a place deep within us
from the heart where hoping dwells in every beat
and the God of the living whose arms reach to hold us
speaks the answer, is the answer, and will be.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +23, Yr C)

A REPENTANT PHARISEE LOOKS BACK
(Luke 18: 9-14)

You can stand by a river, admire its freshness,
yet never dip foot in the stream.
You can come to the temple with prayer high-sounding,
yet be untouched by all it might mean.

You can stand in the light, blink your eyes in the dazzle,
yet never feel its warmth on your skin.
You can open your purse, give a tenth of your treasure,
yet never feel mercy within.

You can fast twice a week and yet still go hungry
for a taste of God’s life-giving grace.
You can live by the law, apply all the rules, yet
miss the love that fills all time and space.

Though proudly I lived, and sternly I judged,
there is something I’ve late come to learn:
and that is that I, too, am among those in need
of the mercy that cannot be earned.

I realize, now, how wrong I was in my judging
of the tax collector offering his prayer.
And now I give thanks that all are included
in God’s acceptance, forgiveness, and care.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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

OLD WOMAN
(Luke 18: 1-8)

Here you come again, old woman,
holding your hands out in pleading,
your worn hands, your wrinkled fingers

that have endured through such long holding,
holding the broken-hearted,
your back bent to carry their burdens,

your face so lined with compassion,
your eyes so calm yet piercing,
gazing steadily into our own

as again you plead your case to us,
asking us for justice for your little ones,
for the suffering and for the powerless,

for the hungry and hopeless and fearful,
pleading with us to enact the mercy
that fills your own heart forever,

while we in the robes of our self-importance
examine all our options,
consider our many excuses,

consider perhaps an adjournment
to get ourselves a coffee,
to look up the legal loopholes,

but unable to get you out of our minds,
you with your stubborn persistence,
your dogged determination,

your unwillingness to be silent or to let us go
until we, too,
have been saved.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King