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

EMMAUS ROAD
(Luke 24: 13-35)

What do I know of the Emmaus road,
except that I think it passes not far from my church,
runs through the local shopping mall,
runs through the main street of town,
through the neighborhoods where the houses
are so close together;
runs almost anywhere today.

What do I know of the Emmaus road,
except that maybe those who walk on it,
lonely in their grieving, stressed in their worrying,
fearful and anxious and searching for hope,
they look like me in the mirror some days,
and sometimes they look like you,
like just about anybody today.

What do I know of the Emmaus road,
except that the place where Jesus meets us,
where he shows up to walk and talk with us,
to come into our kitchens and break bread with us,
or where he reveals himself to us in the stranger,
in the person we can’t imagine as God’s beloved,
that place could be almost anyplace today.

What do I know of the Emmaus road,
except that I think I have some of the smell of it
soaking through to my skin when it rains;
have some of the dust of it sticking right here
on the leather of my worn-out shoes;
and this morning, in the sanctuary, the light
pouring in, isn’t that Christ sitting next to me
in the pew?

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

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

JESUS CAME AND STOOD AMONG THEM
(John 20: 19-31)

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
into locked rooms of hopelessness,
move through shut doors of fearfulness,
show us your power over death,
speak to us your peace.

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
into our grief and loneliness,
overcome barriers of helplessness,
breathe upon us your healing Spirit,
speak to us your peace.

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
into our crouching defensiveness,
break through our walls of selfishness,
show us your wounds of love,
speak to us your peace.

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
into the caves of unforgiveness,
free us from our tombs of bitterness,
remind us of your saving mercy,
speak to us your peace.

Send us from here, Lord Jesus,
into our world of neediness,
the world of hate and unkindness,
send us in the name of God’s love,
send us in the strength of your peace.

Copyright ©2017 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 7, Yr C)

THAT ALL MAY BE ONE
(John 17: 20-26)

May your people be one
as the seas are one
though salting a thousand shores.

May your people be one
as the wind is one
though whisper, though rush, though roar.

May your people be one
as the birds are one
though they sing a thousand songs.

May your people be one
as our prayers are one
though voiced in a thousand tongues.

May your people be one
as the light is one
though made of the colours of the rainbow.

May your people be one
as your love is one –
your love for all people, we know.

May your people be one
as you are one:
you in Christ, and Christ in you.

May your people be one
as the Spirit is one,
moving in us, moving through.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 6, Yr C)

HOW TO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED
(John 14: 23-29)

First you make a small opening just above your heart
and then, with great delicacy, withdraw a small part

and hold it to the light for inspection. Are you dismayed
to observe its frailty, its flaws? Just now it made

a sound like the indrawn breath of a child right before
it cries, in that moment it discovers that the more

of the world you come to know, the more frightening
it becomes. And not just fear, but guilt, harsh as lightning,

worry, grief, regret – all add their aching; you want
to hold your heart tighter in its trouble, but can’t

with tighter grip calm down the trembling. Yet just when
you might despair, you recall Christ’s promise once again

that God’s Spirit is with you here, and that Christ’s peace
is yours to claim. It is there like two more hands, each

more gentle than your own, holding your heart with you;
comfort and strength unfold their flower, courage too,

and you feel your anxiety unravel at last.
In the warm embrace of Christ’s love, letting the past

be past, mindful of the present moment alone,
you rest your peace-filled heart in a safe place. You’re home.

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 4, Yr C)

MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE
(John 10: 22-30)

Help us to hear your voice, gentle Shepherd,
when the wolves of hate howl and swarm.
Help us to hear your voice when the sounds
of our own anxious cries rise like storm.

Help us to listen to you, gentle Shepherd,
through our raging, our anguish, our grief.
Help us to hear your love’s invitation
as you bid us to dwell in your peace.

Help us to listen, as the high peaks listen for
the snow melt’s murmur of spring.
Help us to listen, as the deep woods listen for
the wind and the song it brings.

Help us to listen, as the still lake listens for
the kiss of the sun at dawn.
Help us to listen, as the low clouds listen for
the whisper of mist on the pond.

Help us to listen, as the soft earth listens for
the rain in the fronds of the fern.
Help us to listen, as the pale moon listens for
the day to make its return.

Help us to listen, as the longing heart listens for
the voice of the friend at the door.
Help us to listen, gentle Shepherd, and listening,
learn to hear you better, and more.

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