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

HELP US TO SEE
(John 9: 1-41)

What would we see, Lord,
if you healed our blindness today?

Would we see you at work
in the ones we think to be sinful?

Would we see you at work
among the outcasts of the world?

Would we see your love
for the poor, the homeless, the hungry?

Would we see your compassion
for the weak, the helpless, the afraid?

Would we see you
in the stranger, the foreigner, the refugee?

Would we see your likeness – can we grasp it –
in each one of ourselves?

Help us to see, Lord. Heal our blindness today.

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 (Pentecost +6, Yr C)

TO GO TO JERUSALEM
(Luke 9: 51-62)

There you go, Lord, setting your face for Jerusalem,
setting your face for the cross of self-giving love,
there you go down
the road of self-sacrifice,
giving up a place to lay your head

to sit through the night with the sick ones,
to sleep under bridges with the homeless,
to sort the cans at the food bank,
to talk in the tent with the refugee,
to keep vigil with the hurting and grieving,

speaking to the darkness with your candle of hope,
speaking to the darkness with your light of love,
stirring the uncaring into action,
calling us to follow you on the difficult road,
calling us even though we stumble,

even though we’re not sure of our direction,
looking backward as so often we do,
reluctant to leave the familiar,
reluctant to leave our routines and traditions,
reluctant to give up our comfort,

but still hearing you,
still longing to journey with you,
still turning toward the sound of your voice
as you disappear around another corner
on the way

to the cross that lies just ahead.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For Pentecost Sunday (Yr C)

SUDDENLY THERE CAME A SOUND. . .
(Acts 2: 1-21)

It was one of those days where
leaves are thrashed
from tree branches writhing
under a racing sky,
and my childhood friend playing
outdoors with me wondered:
does the wind
ever stop blowing?

And does it stop somewhere, he asked again,
or just keep going around and around the world?

Back then I said I didn’t know
but now I know there came a day
when a wind began in a certain house
that filled with a light like flame,

and that wind had the roar of justice,
and that wind had the rush of love,
and that wind had the whisper of peace and compassion,
and it carried the words of hope and joy
to an anxious and needy world,

and it was gentle enough to touch the wounded soul
and strong enough to stir the ever seeking hearts
of women and men, young and old,
from city to distant shores,

and it pulled down walls of distrust and fear
and threw open doors of possibility,
and oaks of hatred have bent in its path
and palisades of pain have fallen to its strength
and new life has spread like scattered seed

and yes, my friend, that wind
circles the world
and no,
it has never stopped blowing.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 5, Yr C)

GOSPEL WITHOUT WALLS
(Acts 11: 1-18; John 13: 31-35)

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. . .” – Robert Frost

Some One there is who ever loves us all,
whose grace declares none of us unclean,
in whose life and death barriers come down:
Jesus is one who doesn’t love a wall.

To love our neighbour, near and far, our call,
and more: to love as Jesus loved, for that,
he said, will truly mark his followers.
Jesus is one who doesn’t love a wall.

And this Peter discovered in the fall
of a rigid prejudice held so long
only the voice of God could shake it loose –
our Lord is one who doesn’t love a wall.

May this, too, be our vision, seeing all
as God sees, undivided by our fears,
resentments, our old sinful selfishness,
God-graced to share the gospel without walls.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 2, Yr C)

WHAT THOMAS WANTS
(John 20: 19-31)

Thomas knows all about crucifixion.
Knows the nails driven into the victim
really tear the flesh,
damage the bones.

And he knows that this
is a crucifying world,
with all its violence,
greed and oppression

still hammering nails into the hands of justice,
still thrusting spears through the ribs of love,
still hanging mercy and kindness to die
and sealing up the tomb.

Thomas knows all about it.
So he knows that any real resurrection
will have to come out of ruin,
will have to come out of suffering,

will have to come out still bearing the scars
inflicted by the unjust world.

Ask him not
if he believes in
merely a God
who is greater than suffering or death;
any God worth the name
would surely prove immortal,
who may be able to pretend our pain
but could never share it in truth.

No, what Thomas wants to see
is the Lord who rises from
death by crucifixion,

who rises
from the worst that our world can do:
who rises
from hells of corruption and cruelty,
who rises
from violence and terror and hate,
who rises
from rape and torture and war,
who rises
from hunger and disease and squalor,
who rises
torn and terribly scarred
yet walking among us still,

who will touch us in
our woundedness,
who will hold us in
our brokenness,
who sees in us
the prints left by the nails,

who will put his own hurt hand upon
our heartache, fear and despair
and breathe his healing peace
into our souls.

This is who Thomas wants to see – the only
Lord he wants to believe in.

Thomas just wants to see
Jesus.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem for the Sunday Lectionary (Lent 5, Yr C)

THE ANOINTING
(John 12: 1-11)

Already the sun has set, pulling the light from the sky behind it.
Already the shadows have detached themselves from lamps
and clustered in the corners of the room.

As the smells of the eaten meal begin to fade, the talk to rise,
you sense the time has come to take the jar, the alabaster jar,
the one you have kept so long, and almost holding your breath,

you kneel at the feet of Jesus.
His eyes on you are gentle, seeming to see into your heart,
into your own private shadows, but his love casts out your fear

as you untie his sandals’ thongs and open the lid of the jar
to the powerfully fragrant amber-coloured nard.
The oil slowly pours. The first drops hit the ankles, flow

downward over the bones toward the rough skin of his heels,
spreading over the curved top of the foot. Still you pour this thanks,
this liquid praise, running it to his toes, dripping it from the insteps

while the fragrance builds and builds, ascending like the incense
in the temple, rising from this altar of bones and skin,
skin a shade of road dust, veins the colour of sorrow

which you drape with your hair of midnight, letting it fall
and tumble, and as you use your hair like a towel the fragrance soaks
you both, smell of awe and holiness, smell of love and sacrifice,

scent of light and shadow in a wave like something approaching
that will be stronger than death and burial, that will fill the house
of mind and heart like a perfumed burst

of dawn.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King