Christmas Eve

THE GLORY
(Luke 2: 1-14)

And the glory of God shone around them.
Not because it was suddenly there
but because their eyes were suddenly opened
to what had been there all along.

In the glittering gift of the praising stars,
in the holy hush of the kneeling night,
in the whispered prayers held aloft by the trees,
in the answering song of the grasses and breeze,
the glory of God was already around them.

Around them in the breath of the sheep that were sleeping,
around them in the flames of the fire they were keeping,
around them in the faces of the friends who were watching,
and within them in their hearts as they listened to the speaking
of the messenger of God, opening their eyes to
the Loving Holy Presence,
to heaven already happening,
to the glory, constantly shining.

Maybe it takes something special, something new and wondrous;
or maybe it can happen while we’re just tending to our business
in the ordinary, the daily routines of life,
that we are caught, shaken, wakened

to God somewhere working, to love
somewhere growing, to hearts
somewhere lifting in joyous songs of praise,

and we are moved, we are warmed,
we are opened wide like windows
to the glory that was here, that is there,
that is beyond us and within us,

that is waiting to make us, too, messengers
in the nighttime. Singers of the song.
Part of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
Peace, good will, to this needy and beloved beautiful world.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

And may I also commend you to: “The Flight Of The Heavenly Host

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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 1, Yr. C)

BIRCH TREE AND CEDAR
(Luke 21: 25-36)

“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. . .”

The yellow leaves of the silver birch
gather in breeze-blown clusters.

Above, the naked branches bend
in late autumn’s chilling wind.

There is a prophecy in those branches:
winter’s near. Blasts of snow. Bitter

air and the frozen ground. The leafless
tree will mourn the loss of all

that was green in summer. Death
will seem to reign. But beside the birch

stands another tree: a still green
leafy cedar. Sparrows in its branches.

The dead birch leaves softly rustle
as the rake moves in their midst,

but the cedar’s branches whisper too,
and they too have a message. And it speaks

to the birch, and it speaks to me, of
the promise of a coming summer,

witness of something greater than death,
both now and beyond all winter.

O Loving One who knows our losses,
who knows the cold of our death;

O Coming One who brings new life,
renew your promises yet.

May we birch-tree people have an evergreen heart,
celebrate in winter your spring;

giving thanks for your presence, both here today
and in the future you yet will bring.

Copyright ©2018 by Andrew King

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

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