Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (The Reign Of Christ, Yr B)

(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 (Reign Of Christ)

(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 (Christ The King)

(Matthew 25: 31-46)

The jittering snow flakes chase one another
in flight from the knuckles of wind

that sway the abandoned branches of trees
in their inaudible dirge of loss

and scatter the dust that lines the street
where blank windows stare at the gray.

A fragment of newspaper rolls by, revealing and hiding
its jumble of pain under clouds the colour of bruises.

And the torn creation seems to live in the lines
of the face of this solitary woman,

old coat buttoned high and frayed hat pulled hard
on a forehead furrowed with years,

eyelids pinched from the chill of the air
as she shifts, from one hand to the other,

the heavy weight of two bags that might
carry all that she cares about today.

See how carefully she opens her thin wallet
at the counter of the McDonald’s.

How each coin is cradled like a departing child
by wrinkled and shaking fingers.

How, when she lifts her face to yours and you
smile, and she smiles in return of your greeting

something crosses the space between you
like a bridge spanning unseen waters

and across that bridge moves a gentle light,
a glow of kindness, of friendship, of grace.

Is that you in those eyes, O Beloved Redeemer,
in that smile, in that bridge, in that light?

Is that you in the lines on all our weathered faces,
in all our hands that count out life’s coins?

Grant me grace to see you looking back at me
with the love you have for all creation,

to see you, O King, in all of your glory,
beneath the folds of each old hat, worn coat.