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

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 (Christmas +1, Yr A)

THE SHADOW FALLS PAST CHRISTMAS
Matthew 2: 13-23

Hear the broken-hearted weeping
in the blooded streets, see
the frightened family fleeing
the night so gouged and torn
with loss. We cannot forget
the shadow that falls past Christmas.

Sometimes the tree falls down and the lights
are crushed. The car goes off the road
driving home from the party. Storm
sets in, shutting down festive celebration.

Shadow falls past Christmas:
the Herod dark of hatred, shattered
lives and homes, cruelty
and the killing power of greed;
dreams of joy chased down by fear and grief.

Infants dying of neglect and malnutrition,
oppression claiming victims every day,
and so frequently corruption unabated:
the songs of hope that came like dreams
seem easily defeated.

But see the infant Christ
not among the murdered.
Untrapped by hatred’s reach, by
greed’s cold grasp, by the power
of death so constantly pursuing,
infant Love lives on, the hope
and will for justice and peace
persisting.

Shadow falls past Christmas. But
see the light still shining;
faith and hope still singing; the contest
for the human heart goes on.

May we, as Joseph did, keep
listening to the words of dreams.
Keep moving the feet
toward morning’s hope,
free as a gift of love,
however distant the dawn.

And may the darkness fail to chase us down.

Copyright © by Andrew King
Reprinted from First Sunday After Christmas, 2013

A Poem For Christmas Eve/Day

THE FLIGHT OF THE HEAVENLY HOST
(Luke 2: 1-14)

They flew over cities of a thousand old sorrows,
they flew over hills of a hundred hard griefs,
they flew over fields of love fallen in ruins,
and over dim hovels long haunted with yearning,
and over bright palaces of the powerful feasting,

and in their old graves the prophets
looked up to see them,
and the brown grasses bent to the rush of their passing,
and the wild seas lifted their waves in adulation,
and the pilgrim wind wept with the joy of their singing,

and the angels flew on to the pivot of history,
they flew upon wings made of messages of light,
and the prayers of the ages rose up to enwrap them,
and they stopped over stones of moss-covered memory
where hope’s moldered bones had lain down to die,

and the night held its breath and the dark knelt to listen,
and the trees brought the stars close with trembling hands
as a baby’s first cries cut the air in a stable
and shivering stunned shepherds
heard praises fill the Bethlehem sky.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

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

STILL HUNGRY FOR THE DREAM
(Isaiah 11: 1-10, Matthew 3: 1-12, Romans 15: 4-13)

See the vision, hear the message:
wolf and lamb lying down in peace,
nothing hurting, nothing wronging,
war and violence all ceased.

Jesse’s stump shall grow new blossom,
from that root new branch and leaf,
come to judge the world with justice,
come to heal the needy’s grief.

          Prophet, can you help our hearts,
          so hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Prophet, can you help us turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door?

In the wilderness a preacher
burns our souls like desert sand,
calling for fruit of repentance,
says the kingdom is at hand.

There is One, says John, who’s coming,
who’s the One that we desire.
He will bathe you, not in Jordan,
but in the Holy Spirit’s fire.

          Prophet, can you help our hearts,
          so hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Prophet, can you help us turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door?

Open up the heart to hoping:
Christ the light that leads to day.
Hear the message, see the vision,
as the prophets point the way.

          Saviour, can you help our hearts,
          still hungry for the dream we’re waiting for?
          Saviour, help us now to turn
          toward that dawn, toward the open door.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 1, Yr A)

NOW IS THE MOMENT
(Romans 13: 11-14)

I thought I heard a noise just now
like a wind rising, like a sea rolling

I thought I heard a note just now
like metal beaten, like a hammer ringing

I thought I heard a sound just now
like a child laughing, like a woman singing

I thought I heard the world just now
and it was crying, it was pleading

I thought I heard a voice just now
and it was calling, it was summoning

then I knew what I heard was change just now
for night will be ending and day coming

and I knew what I heard was the Lord just now
saying “Now is the time for awaking.”

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +12, Yr C)

AT AN UNEXPECTED HOUR
(Luke 12: 32-40)

Not yet is that kingdom come upon us:
not yet the peace that is God’s loving will;
not yet the swords turned into plowshares;
not yet the wolves lying down with lambs;
not yet the lands where refugees
may dwell in joy and safety;
not yet the bellies of children
unswollen from their hunger;
not yet the world’s enslaved going free,
not yet the poor finding lives of fullness,
the cities where the gun no longer sounds.

Not yet.

And so not yet can we turn our eyes from duty,
not yet can we turn from service to others,
not yet can we cease from seeking justice,
nor cease from a wide compassion;
not yet can we rest from kindness, from mercy,
from pursuing peace, from lifting up
all those who are trodden down.

Not yet.

Not yet that banquet table,
not yet that feast of the kingdom’s
completion where all are guests of love.
Not yet the time to extinguish our lamps
in the rays of a new day’s sun.

Not yet.

And yet –
hear what unwearied hope says:

Maybe soon.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King