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 stated, truly marks 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

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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 a God
merely greater than suffering or death;
any God worth the title
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 puts 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

Last Sunday Of Epiphany – The Transfiguration (Yr C)

AWAKEN US
(Luke 9: 28-36)
“. . .but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory”

Awaken us.

Awaken us in the fall of the snow, the drop of the rain,
      the crash of the rolling thunder.
Awaken us in the song of the bird, the laugh of the child,
      the gentle hug from another.

Awaken us in the flick of the fish, the leap of the fox,
      the lean of the weeping willow.
Awaken us in the sift of the breeze, the lift of the hymn,
      the gift of a bed and pillow.

Awaken us in the peal of the bell, the coffee’s smell,
      the feel of running water.
Awaken us in the starlight’s gleam, the hot meal’s steam,
      the flash of the diving otter.

Awaken us in the eagle’s flight, the mountain’s height,
      the joy of the talk with a friend.
Awaken us in early morning calm, the medicine’s balm,
      the quiet of evening’s end.

Awaken us in the sip of wine, the warm sunshine,
      the colour of leaves in autumn.
Awaken us in the caring word, the truth that’s heard,
      the fragrance of spreading blossoms.

Awaken us far, awaken us near,
      awaken us with your story.
Awaken us from where we have come to be here,
      awakened to all your glory.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +18, Yr B)

IF YOUR FOOT CAUSES YOU TO STUMBLE. . .
(Mark 9: 38-50)

These words of seeming mutilation:
how strange to us, the exaggeration
for heightened effect. The need for change
is what they’re about – to rearrange
one’s attitudes, actions, use of speech,
habitual ways. If what we reach
for is not to serve someone in love
but to serve ourselves (choosing to shove
aside another’s dignity or need),
then it’s our selfishness and greed
that cause us from the path to fall
(forgive the feet); it is the stubborn call
of pride that just won’t bend
(and not the hand) that most offends.
If our path from God’s has swerved,
look well inside, to that which serves
the will. There seek healing. And maybe start
with where most hurting dwells – the heart.

Poem for The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +17, Yr B)

THE LOVE THAT EMBRACES ALL OF US
(Mark 9: 30-37)

Jesus welcomes the children
The light is passed from face to face
as if from flower to flower
as children, hand in hand, race
to greet the one in whose embrace
the smallest finds acceptance.   Power

is not so often used to serve the weak,
the under-valued vulnerable,
the helpless. But Jesus seeks
his followers to bend to serve, speaks
of being welcomed among the little

and the least; welcoming the very One
who sent him. Have we yearned
for greatness? Here it is, among
these shining faces; and in Christ’s gentle song,
the love that embraces all of us, unearned.


Image: JESUS MAFA. Jesus welcomes the children, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +16, Yr B)

AND THOSE WHO LOSE THEIR LIFE WILL SAVE IT
(Mark 8: 27-38)

I opened the curtain this morning:
the sun was giving itself away
with a brilliant smile.

I walked by a stream this morning:
the water was giving itself away
with a gentle song.

I greeted a friend this morning:
joy was giving itself away
with the warmth of touch.

I thought of your cross this morning:
how you gave yourself away
in holy love.

May I become such grain this morning:
living in what is given away
for another’s bread.