A Poem For Easter Sunday (Yr C)

ODES FOR EASTER PEOPLE
(John 20: 1-18)

~ 1 ~

From what I’ve known of emptiness
it’s usually an empty place,
but the empty tomb of Jesus
holds the world of time and space.

From what I’ve known of losses
there’s often nothing left to be heard,
but death could not hold Jesus
and does not have the final word.

From what I’ve known of tombstones
their stillness is statement and claim,
but the stone rolled back for Jesus,
and all our destiny is changed . . .

~ 2 ~

We spin our tombs out of toughened threads
of rage, grief, bitterness, regret,
sealed inside with our guilt, our dreads

where no light of good can come. And yet
we are not abandoned, and there
in the hard cocoon, if we let it,

we may begin to change. Care
breaks in, God’s loving breath, warm;
slowly the old life, stripped bare,

begins to break apart, transform,
emerge as something different, new –
the old hurts and wounds, the torn

places, the scarred parts too
starting to heal; our being beginning to change.
In time we can choose to leave our cocoon,

and with trust, it splits open. And with strange
bright wings unfolding to the fragrant air
we surface – by death and resurrection rearranged.

~ 3 ~

I know you’re there, my Easter flower,
hidden for a while in earth’s deep darkness,
soon to break forth like song out of silence,
soon to show again your resurrection power,

rising up where no plant should be growing, out
of rough dirt, smooth lawn, cracks between stones,
rising again from being cut, pulled up, mowed down,
supposedly dead. I know the scented white shout

of the trumpets of lilies is the common choice
in sanctuaries showing Easter joy and glory,
but for me it is your undefeatable story,
the stubborn ruggedness of your sunlit voice,

that best symbolizes the resilience of faith
and the undying steadfastness of God’s love.
Try as the world might to root out and shove
you back to the dark, your bright yellow face

still blooms where it will. Irrepressible weed,
may your ever-renewing blossoms become
a sign of the kingdom of which every one
of us can be joyous, undefeated, irrepressible seed.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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Poem For the Sunday Lectionary (Easter 4, Yr B)

A PRAYER TO THE SHEPHERD
(Psalm 23, John 10: 11-18)

O Lord our Shepherd,
may your flock not want
in the refugee camps
of Yarmouk, of Darfur, of Dadaab.

May life-giving pastures of nourishment be theirs
in Sudan, in Niger, in Chad.

May waters of peacefulness and healing flow
in Somalia, in Syria, in Ukraine.

And may souls be restored in our own cities and towns
where violence and hunger still live.

O Lord our Shepherd,
death shadows the valleys
and the houses and hills of our lands.

May the strength of your grace and
the assurance of your love
ever with us and ever embracing,
bring comfort to the grieving and alone.

May there be a table of reconciliation prepared
where enemies may sit down in peace

and may the cup of joy overflow for those
whose suffering has been their drink.

Let your goodness and mercy attend your flock,
O Shepherd, our Lord,
and may all your flock dwell
in the unity of your love
as long as life endures.

Poem For the Sunday Lectionary (Easter 3, Yr B)

THEN HE OPENED THEIR MINDS
(Luke 24: 36-48)

As the pine cone opens
to the warm breath of spring

as the buds of the tree
open to the sun

as the thirsty earth opens
to life-giving rain

as the mouth of the babe
opens for milk

as the heart of the lover
opens to its love

so open our minds
Creator eternal

so open our minds
O Lover of all

so open our minds
O crucified Redeemer

to the presence of your grace
in the sacred word,

and the grace that is your presence,
O living Word.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

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

THE EASTER BREATH
(John 20: 19-31)

In the upper room, in the evening,
we meet to talk, the doors all locked in fear,
spirits low, defeated hearts still grieving,
the empty grave upon our thoughts, and here,
where he washed our feet, broke and shared the bread,
his painful absence seems the more defined.
Though Mary says that he’s no longer dead,
shame, despair and fear still haunt our minds.
And then: the voice we thought we’d hear no more –
it is the Lord! We see his side and hands,
and he gives us peace, and words that restore
our hearts, that lift our heads, by which we stand
with strength: he breathes on us and says, “Receive
the Spirit.” Lord, we do. We believe. And breathe.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

A Poem For Easter Sunday (Yr B)

TO GALILEE HE’S GONE
(Mark 16: 1-8)

We saw where the body of Jesus was laid,
laid within the tomb.
And we asked
who will roll the stone away,
who will roll away the stone.

We heard the angel: “Christ has risen:
behold his empty tomb”.
And we asked
where to go to find him,
now that he has gone.

The angel said he’s going ahead of you:
to Galilee he’s gone.
And we asked
what he’ll do in Galilee
in the place we know as home.

The angel said you’ll find him where new life
lifts hearts of those in tombs.
So we asked
to be those who serve him,
who show that life has won.

We find him risen feeding the hungry,
risen among the poor,
and we meet
him among the friendless
and bringing the homeless home.

Thus we say, today, in our Galilee,
pointing to the empty tomb:
see where God
is rolling the stone away,
is rolling away the stone.

Copyright © 2015 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (The Ascension)

BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM
(Luke 24: 44-53)

Begin in the brightly painted kitchens.
At the table set for supper and on the wide couches
where we watch TV. Begin while we are sorting
the laundry, writing out the shopping list.
And in front of our bathroom mirrors.

Begin in the barns among the warmth of animals
and the smells of grain and manure.
Begin in the growing fields, and in the flooded
pastures, and where the rains have not come
and the soil is cracked and hard.

Begin in the gleaming office towers, the shiny
shopping malls, the sweaty factory floors.
Begin on crumbling sidewalks and amid
the rumble of subways. At machines, at our desks,
by the coffee makers and computers.

Begin with the rich, the comfortable.
Begin with the poor, the desperate.
Among the successful, the self-assured.
Among the failed and the floundering.
In the glitter of the halls of power,
and in the cold and shadowed corners
of tragedy and defeat.

Begin on a day when the sun is brilliant;
on a day when the sky is gray.
In a time when economies are favorable;
in a time when all is rust;
at the moment when leaders are caring;
or amid indifference, hostility, despair.

Let us begin beginning again. And whether
we have begun and triumphed, or begun
and struggled and faltered, we will continue
our beginning, as we have from our beginning,
at Jerusalem,
which is wherever
and whoever we are.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 6)

AND WE IN YOU
(John 14: 15-21)

As the tree is in the earth
and the earth in the tree,
as the sea is in the fish
and the fish in the sea,

as the bird is in the air
and the air in the bird,
as word is in the breath
and breath in the word,

as rhyme is in the music
and music in rhyme,
as time is in the season
and the season in time,

as grief is in the loving
and loving in grief,
as belief is in the hope
and hope in the belief,

as desire is in the will
and the will in desire,
as fire is in the flame
and the flame in the fire,

as you, Christ, are in God
and God is in you,
so are you in us,
and we in you.

So are you in us and
we in you.