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

BEATITUDES
(Matthew 5: 1-12)

These words a path
that winds to flowing streams
These words the stream
that grows to form a sea
the sea of kindness
in whose depths there gleams
becoming what we’re meant to be.

These words the soil
in which new life may root
These words the roots
from which grows a tree
a tree of peace
whose healing fruit
holds the seeds to set loving free.

These words the rays
that bring the newness of dawn
These words the dawn
that flames into day
the day of rejoicing
with the singer and song
whose words are life, and truth, and way.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 3, Yr A)

WHY YOU LEAVE YOUR NETS AND FOLLOW
(Matthew 4: 12-23)

Because your hope for that kingdom
has teased the edge of your thoughts
the way waters tease the edge of the shore

because his words stir that hope
in the depths of your soul
the way wind stirs the waves of the sea

because you sense that his love
like a sea without bounds
is as large as the needs of the world

and because he’s called you by name
and the heart in you swims
toward that love, toward joy, toward home

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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

LAMB, WE LONG TO KNOW YOU
(John 1: 29-42)

Rabbi, we wish to learn from you:
tell us, where are you staying?
Our spirits near exhaustion, bent beneath our trophies,
our car wheels spinning, phones and laptops flickering,
the earth below our houses reeling from our heat,
we think our wisdom great as soaring mountains, as suns,
yet we have learned so little of life’s gentle meaning,
our weapon-wielding words betray our souls’ deep neediness,
our grasping hands disclose only desperate emptiness,
listen as our hearts reach out for new beginnings:
Teacher, we wish to learn from you.
Tell us, where are you staying?

Messiah, we need to follow you:
Show us, where are you leading?
We have walked blind alleyways of selfishness and hatred,
we have fallen into pits of bitterness and anger,
the hungry cry out from the ditches we’ve created,
the powerful push the weak into smaller, smaller corners,
voices of pain are echoing in unhearing hallways,
the digital city leans over lives with thin foundations,
hear us as our hearts reach out for fresh direction:
Messiah, we need to follow you.
Show us, where are you leading?

Lamb of God, we long to know you:
Bring us as guests into your dwelling.
In you we see in human form the fullness of God’s caring,
in you we see the majesty of grace forever shining,
compassion’s face, mercy’s hands that bear the scars of loving,
your flesh a curtain opened that leads to God’s own presence,
sharing with us our struggles, embracing us in our brokenness,
your words and way a path that offers peace and wholeness,
hear us as our hearts reach out for transformation:
Lamb, we long to know you.
Bring us as guests into your dwelling.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany, Yr A)

BRIGHT STAR
(Isaiah 60: 1-6; Matthew 2: 1-12)

And where have you gone, bright star,
you that shone like an invitation,

like a beckoning, like a summoning,
like a signal of something beginning;

where have you gone in the nighttime,
in the distances of murky darkness

that hides from our eyes the suffering,
the weeping, the praying, the struggling,

our eyes grown weary with watching
for signs of God coming to bless?

We have looked for you again in our hoping,
we have searched for you in our wandering. . .

Could it be, bright star, that we are looking
in wrong places, in the wrong direction,

that you are found no longer in the heavens,
no more in dark meadows of sky,

but instead you rise on horizons
of love’s possibilities within us –

and that we can be the shining signal
for which others are hoping and seeking,

that we can be the radiant beacon
that is sign of God’s presence and caring,

that we can invite the wanderers
toward a warm place of welcome,

as we share with them the journey
that leads to God’s joyful kingdom. . .

Love’s light, bright star within us,
will you rise in our hearts today?

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

For those who might be using the gospel lesson for the Baptism of Jesus, here are some previous posts.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Christmas +1, Yr A)

THE SHADOW FALLS PAST CHRISTMAS
Matthew 2: 13-23

Hear the broken-hearted weeping
in the blooded streets, see
the frightened family fleeing
the night so gouged and torn
with loss. We cannot forget
the shadow that falls past Christmas.

Sometimes the tree falls down and the lights
are crushed. The car goes off the road
driving home from the party. Storm
sets in, shutting down festive celebration.

Shadow falls past Christmas:
the Herod dark of hatred, shattered
lives and homes, cruelty
and the killing power of greed;
dreams of joy chased down by fear and grief.

Infants dying of neglect and malnutrition,
oppression claiming victims every day,
and so frequently corruption unabated:
the songs of hope that came like dreams
seem easily defeated.

But see the infant Christ
not among the murdered.
Untrapped by hatred’s reach, by
greed’s cold grasp, by the power
of death so constantly pursuing,
infant Love lives on, the hope
and will for justice and peace
persisting.

Shadow falls past Christmas. But
see the light still shining;
faith and hope still singing; the contest
for the human heart goes on.

May we, as Joseph did, keep
listening to the words of dreams.
Keep moving the feet
toward morning’s hope,
free as a gift of love,
however distant the dawn.

And may the darkness fail to chase us down.

Copyright © by Andrew King
Reprinted from First Sunday After Christmas, 2013

A Poem For Christmas Eve/Day

THE FLIGHT OF THE HEAVENLY HOST
(Luke 2: 1-14)

They flew over cities of a thousand old sorrows,
they flew over hills of a hundred hard griefs,
they flew over fields of love fallen in ruins,
and over dim hovels long haunted with yearning,
and over bright palaces of the powerful feasting,

and in their old graves the prophets
looked up to see them,
and the brown grasses bent to the rush of their passing,
and the wild seas lifted their waves in adulation,
and the pilgrim wind wept with the joy of their singing,

and the angels flew on to the pivot of history,
they flew upon wings made of messages of light,
and the prayers of the ages rose up to enwrap them,
and they stopped over stones of moss-covered memory
where hope’s moldered bones had lain down to die,

and the night held its breath and the dark knelt to listen,
and the trees brought the stars close with trembling hands
as a baby’s first cries cut the air in a stable
and shivering stunned shepherds
heard praises fill the Bethlehem sky.

Copyright ©2016 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