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

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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

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

THANKFULNESS
(Luke 17: 11-19)

is the leap of the heart to the notes of a music
discovered at the center of creation

is morning light spilling through the windows of the soul
and sometimes best experienced at evening

is the tasting of the fruit you have found because your journey
just now passed through a hidden orchard

is the fragrance of the perfume that your spirit pours out
when it opens in both sun and rain

is the depth of the moment when you awake to healing
and a thing that helps you get there

is the voice and the words and the song they bring
when joy is released to the world

is breath in the lungs of all that is love

is the life of a healthy soul.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +12, Yr C)

AT AN UNEXPECTED HOUR
(Luke 12: 32-40)

Not yet is that kingdom come upon us:
not yet the peace that is God’s loving will;
not yet the swords turned into plowshares;
not yet the wolves lying down with lambs;
not yet the lands where refugees
may dwell in joy and safety;
not yet the bellies of children
unswollen from their hunger;
not yet the world’s enslaved going free,
not yet the poor finding lives of fullness,
the cities where the gun no longer sounds.

Not yet.

And so not yet can we turn our eyes from duty,
not yet can we turn from service to others,
not yet can we cease from seeking justice,
nor cease from a wide compassion;
not yet can we rest from kindness, from mercy,
from pursuing peace, from lifting up
all those who are trodden down.

Not yet.

Not yet that banquet table,
not yet that feast of the kingdom’s
completion where all are guests of love.
Not yet the time to extinguish our lamps
in the rays of a new day’s sun.

Not yet.

And yet –
hear what unwearied hope says:

Maybe soon.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +8, Yr C)

THE TRAVELLERS GIVE THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY
(Luke 10: 25-37)

 THE PRIEST:
The sun was cruelly hot that day,
it lay like weight on the skin;
and yes, I saw where the body lay,
naked and bloody and thin.
But my robes are long, I might have tripped
if I had bent to lend a hand,
and so I passed by. But I said a prayer –
I’m sure God had a plan.

 THE LEVITE:
You know how rough the road is there;
the robbers could have been near.
His condition for certain delivered a scare –
there’s a lot of crime around here.
I lead an upright life, you know; it’s why
God has blessed me with being rich.
So I hurried past, giving thanks to God
that it’s not me in that ditch.

 THE PRIEST:
I’m a busy man, I’ve many tasks
that occupy my mind.
My day is full from first to last,
there’s never enough of time.
I might have stopped, but my schedule
has to keep me rushing on.
Since it’s God’s work that I do, you know,
I don’t think I was wrong.

 THE LEVITE:
Perhaps we should question why this man
was chosen for being robbed –
could it be that he was a sinner, and
that this was the will of God?
And if it was indeed the man
himself who was to blame,
then I do not think by passing by
I’ve cause to be ashamed.

 THE SAMARITAN:
The sun was cruelly hot that day,
lying like weight on the skin,
and yes, I saw where the body lay,
naked and bloody and thin.
My heart was moved within me;
I felt pity for his pain.
So I stopped on the road to help him,
what more need I explain?

I don’t think I was being heroic
when I offered merciful aid.
And I’m not just being stoic
when I say I’ve been repaid.
The humble thanks he’s given
for having his life restored
is the blessing of God’s own heaven.
And kindness is its own reward.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King