Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +5, Yr C)

I AM LEGION
(Luke 8: 26-39)

I am the lost one trapped in depression;
I am the broken one trapped in my rage;
I am the hurting soul chained to addiction;
I am self-harmer abused at young age –

I am the many-name victim of madness,
my humanness naked, nowhere to hide;
drowning like flotsam in cold seas of sadness,
wracked by despair until bits of me die;

haunted by fear, or strange inner voices;
tortured by dark thoughts in pitiless tide . . .
Blame me? Shame me? And what other choices –
fear me? Ignore me and let my needs slide?

Gerasene brother, when you met the Christ
who banished the illness into the swine,
your healing came without judgment or price;
mercy itself helped bring rightness of mind.

But note still the fear of those who kept score,
finding you clothed, sitting calm and at peace.
Madness is feared, but is mercy feared more?
It’s Christ, not Legion, who’s asked there to leave.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +5, Yr B)

FRINGES OF THE GARMENT
(Mark 5: 21-43)

Thin as a delicate cloth, this thing called
hope.
Thin as blood that flows in unceasing
hemorrhages.
Thin as the useless remedies tried over years.
Thin as the remnants of strength being drained
from your bones.
Thin as your breath when you lie sleepless at night
with fear.
Thin, in your isolation, as the ragged memories
of touch.
Thin, increasingly, as prayer.
Thin and worn and fading, this thing called hope.

How to explain its sudden thickening strength,
as if the wick of a lamp had grown new breadth,
light increasing, shadow retreating,
when the news came of him of whom the people
were speaking,
by whom lepers are healed, the lame walking,
in whose presence and word the kingdom of God
seems near;
how to explain this strange sensation of something
nearing wholeness again
as the fabric of hope seems to glow with
freshened colour?

He is here.
Let others, whose hearts in undented plates of armour
have the leisure, search for cool exalted explanations.
Those whose hearts like yours have known the painful
failures,
have borne the desperate years with threadbare
courage,
will understand the way your feet are running,
the way your hand is reaching,
the way your touch is grasping for
even the fringes
of the garment that
he wears.